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bird song i.d. please


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#1 cynthiatk

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 11:34 AM

For years now I have heard three beautiful very clear loud descending flute-like notes but never see the bird and can't even tell what direction the notes are coming from.They are repeated exactly the same every time.

I live in N. California on a hillside next to a wooded creek about 20 minutes south of San Jose.  Can anyone give me a clue to the bird?  Thanks, Cynthia



#2 Gray Poll

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 12:54 PM

Flute-like says to me "Oriole" . At least something you can try.



#3 T Jones

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:00 PM

I have heard what you are describing from a Northern Mockingbird. It drove me crazy trying to find where the sound was coming from. By chance one day, a Northern Mockingbird landed on a phone line just above my head and then came the sound I had spent so much time trying to find. I can't tell you that this is the bird you are looking for, it's just a personal observation. Also, I have yet to find a Bird website that has this particular sound in their collections for Northern Mockingbirds.

 

I hope you find your bird! Big Smile



#4 Cavan Wood

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:14 PM

Flute-like calls make me think thrushes.  Did you hear this song recently, or are you recalling from the summer.  Hermit thrush is the only one around at this time of year, but it's calls are not necessarily desending.

Go play at this site and see if you can find your song among the birds suggested above.

http://macaulaylibra...dio.do?id=98814

Scott



#5 eric

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:39 PM

> three beautiful very clear loud descending flute-like notes

Makes me think of the shortened white-crowned sparrow song ("poor old Sam"... without the "Peabody"), or a golden-crowned sparrow.



#6 cynthiatk

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:22 PM

Thanks Grey Poll - I will be looking!


#7 cynthiatk

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:24 PM

Thanks T Jones  Lets make a deal - if either of us finds it, we will tell the other!  C


#8 cynthiatk

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:26 PM

Thanks Cavan Wood   I hear it in the summer if I remember right, This year I am going to make notes on my calendar.  I'll look on the website. Much appreciated.  C


#9 cynthiatk

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:28 PM

Thanks Eric  I sure have enough sparrows. I will be listening and checking on them. C


#10 mousebird

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 04:42 PM

The zebra doves in Hawaii sound like little flutes, too.

#11 luv2bird

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 05:07 PM

cynthiatk:
For years now I have heard three beautiful very clear loud descending flute-like notes but never see the bird and can't even tell what direction the notes are coming from.They are repeated exactly the same every time.

I live in N. California on a hillside next to a wooded creek about 20 minutes south of San Jose.  Can anyone give me a clue to the bird?  Thanks, Cynthia

Did you post a link to an audio file that I didn't catch?  Based on your info. I'm thinking  a Western Meadowlark. Try listening to this one   http://www.lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=402

 



#12 johnthemon

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 06:47 PM

i think it's a mourning dove.  its call ends with three slightly descending notes. i have never heard a bird that sounds more like a flute.  go to the following page and click the link to the mourning dove's call. 

http://identify.what...rning_Dove.aspx

 

Attached Files



#13 rogerhull

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 01:16 AM

Three clear descending notes in a minor key from a bird that is, at best, elusive is likely a golden-crowned sparrow. The song is loud enough to be heard at quite a distance, and the notes are unusually consistent. We have a large population of them in Alaska in the summer.

#14 littlest_bird

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:10 AM

If she was hearing the song in the summer, as she seems to recall, it's unlikely to be a golden-crowned sparrow or a white-throated sparrow. They do winter in California, but should be long gone before singing really picks up. Maybe if she heard it early in the spring? They do a little singing on their wintering grounds, but it's unlikely if it was heard all through the summer.

Flute-like is how many people describe the songs of most thrushes. It can also be hard to pinpoint where the bird is and even harder to actually see it. The problem here is the song description doesn't fit any of them. Their songs are typically descending in pitch and are not always consistent each time. Meadowlarks are also very flute-like, but the habitat of a wooded creek seems way off for where you're likely to find one.

Sorry i don't really have much of a proper suggestion for you. Identifying things from a memory can be very tricky. I've tried to ID birds from a song I didn't recognize, and even if I do it later in the same day, I often fail. If he comes around again this year, hunt that little sucker down!

 



#15 cynthiatk

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:15 PM

Thanks luv2bird but that isn't the call i hear sometimes. it is such a distinctive call - i can repeat it by whistling 3 long notes, the last two a little lower each time. there are no twitterings or other sounds accompanying, just the clear notes. if i had any musical training i could tell you what key they are in.  c


#16 cynthiatk

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:19 PM

thanks johnthemon. i have raised doves and these are nothing like the sounds i've ever heard them make. 

i am wondering if there is something like a very special mating call that birds don't use very often. (obviously i am a beginner birdsong i.d.)   c



#17 cynthiatk

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:42 PM

thanks littlest_bird.  yes, i could easily confuse practically every other bird song except maybe crow, but these notes are as distinctive as the spaceship sounded in 'close encounters of the third kind' -  unique and unforgettable.

or the da DA da da from 'twilight zone' - most everyone in middle age remembers that one. this bird call sounds so unusual in my usually twittering garden that it always makes me stop and listen. it's that beautiful.   (woo oo - now i've got everyone thinking, a bird from outer space?  ha!)

since i havn't got an i.d. from anyone, you can be sure that next time i hear it i will try my best to find out who it comes from. wish i could remember to carry a recorder in my pocket from spring through fall.   c



#18 cynthiatk

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:43 PM

thanks mousebird - i'll give that one a listen. c


#19 cynthiatk

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:46 PM

thanks rogerhull,  i will check that out. c


#20 cynthiatk

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 07:23 PM

hi again rogerhull.  i heard the golden crowned sparrow song at the cornell website and it is very much the same -except the middle note dips lower. do you know if there are slight regional differences in bird songs?

i have lots of golden crowns around here  -maybe mine have a california accent.

what a relief to have an answer to my mystery!  thanks very much,  cynthia






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