newinpdx

ID call: sounds like referee's whistle

13 posts in this topic

I am new to the northwest, and heard a call today that I have not heard in the year that we've been here. It was a 2 second, sllightly shrill whistle - constant pitch. Very loud - I estimate I was 200 yards from where the calls originated. It sounded like a referee's whistle. There were two different pitches of the same call, coming from different areas of the woods, so I assume two of the same bird. We live in old growth forest in the west hills of Portland - doug fir, etc. I could not see the birds. The call repeated every 30-60 seconds, and the birds were in the area for at least an hour, but moving through the canopy slowly.


Any ideas?

Thanks

Jason

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Perhaps it was a European Starling?? They come up with the craziest combinations of whistles, notes, etc. I have even heard them sing octaves! They also are excellent mimics, around here they mimic the calls of Killdeers and Black-capped Chickadees.

 I hope this helps,

 Tim H.
 

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Of course when I take my Sibley Field Guide to Birds of West North America off the shelf - it's a Varied Thrush on the cover and the back. And there is the right call description as well.


So while you can't tell a book by its cover, you can tell a bird by a book's cover.

Jason

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You are welcome.  I actually have used a varied thrush soundbyte in one of my ranger programs when talking about Pacific Northwest forests.  It is the only animal in my slide show that I talk about by its sound, never showing a picture.  It also makes a prominent appearance in one of Glacier National Park's eHikes, the Trail of the Cedars "Power Hike", which you can access from the bottom of this page: http://www.nps.gov/glac/photosmultimedia/ehikes.htm The varied thrush is on slide 6. emotion-5.gif

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Yesterday I had a Varied Thrush visit our home several miles East of Marysville, Washington.  It was on the ground of our patio.  It looks just like your picture, which is a little different from the main picture on this web site.  It is black, grey and gold, not orange as on the site picture.  The colors are bright, the beak is black and they legs yellow.  It did not sing for me.  I enjoyed seeing your national park tour description of the bird.

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So glad to have found this site and this thread!  We have been hearing the bird song that sounds like a referee's whistle for weeks now here in Edmonds and I have wondered what bird this is.  I do believe the Varied Thrush is the best guess, and I will hope to actually see this interesting bird soon. 

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Welcome to Whatbird

 

I'm not sure why you select a post from 2008 to respond to, but Welcome to Whatbird none the less.

 

Bigfoot

Whatbird Moderator

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Usually, the call is referred to as "etherial" rather than "shrill" which implies more of the higher harmonics (like a referees whistle). Anyway, Varied Thrush came to mind immediately because I've had people ask me about this call before, not knowing what bird was making it. Newcomers to the Northwest will most likely encounter the bird first in winter foraging on the ground. At that time, it is not calling. And so they learn the bird by sight then, but totally miss the connection between it and the etherial call that is only heard on the breeding ground (thick forest where the bird isn't visible). 

 

I cannot hear this call in my head without picturing fog.... :)

 

aldri49

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She probably searched "bird sound referee's whistle" or something.

 

Welcome to Whatbird! 

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