Boidnoise

Various nature recordings by Bernhard Kroeger

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  • Male Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) Photo © Walt Carnahan

    The male western tanager is a strikingly handsome western bird.   Despite its bright red, yellow, and black coloration it is surprisingly hard to see as it forages in the crowns of open coniferous and mixed forests.  Like many birds it is much easier to hear.  Often a quick, rising “kbrick” call from high in the trees indicates the presence of this species.  During the breeding season the deliberately phrased song is common.  Each song phrase consists of evenly spaced 2 syllable elements, often with a rising, followed by a falling ending, giving it a lilting sing-song characteristic.  A phrase can be started with the “kbrick” call and erases all doubt as to the identity of the singer.  This can be heard at 6sec, 1min13sec and 1min21sec in the following recording.  The song of the western tanager also has a rough “burry” quality, totally different of the clear, sweet, voice of the American robin, whose song can be mistaken for the tanager’s.

    This recording was made on May 18, 2010 at 0550 when the morning chorus was in full swing.  Singing in the background are primarily Black-headed Grossbeaks (Pheucticus melanocephalus) and an occasional Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla).

    Telinga dish with PIP-4 mic into an Olympus LS-11 recorder.  The file has been edited for length and is otherwise just as recorded without any other processing.

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    Sometimes a bird will sit and just repeat the “kbrick” call and never launch into song.  The following file is a series of 5 calls with the timing intact.

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  • Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) Photo © Walt Carnahan

    A common song one hears in the western foothills is that of the mountain chickadee.  The three syllable call that sounds like “cheeseburger” or “dihh-da-da” is distinctive and unmistakable.  Yet within a distance of 9 miles and an elevation of from 3700’ to 5100’  I have noticed four distinct variations on this call; chickadee slang if you will.

    The recordings were made during the breeding season in 2007, 2008, and 2010.  I’m not smart enough to know what these variations signify and have not spent enough time in the field to determine if they are unique to different altitudes and locations or are common over this small range.

    The simple “dihh-da-da” call recorded on April 16, 2008 at the 3700’ level.  The file is the mono output of the omni directional capsule of a Telinga Twin Science mic with a parabolic dish into a Sound Devices 722 recorder.

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    Below is a sonogram of this call

    Mountain Chickadee basic 3 syllable call "dih-da-dah"

    The next variation, adding a syllable to the end so it becomes “dih-da-da-da” was recorded the same day at the same location with the same equipment.

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    Below is a sonogram of this call

    Mountain Chickadee 4 syllable variation “dih-da-da-dah”

    Further up the hill at 4570’ elevation, on April 29, 2007, with the same equipment(except into a Marantz PMD-671 recorder), I recorded an individual who exhibited two additional variations simultaneously.  The first adds a syllable to the beginning so it becomes “di-hii-da-da” and the second adds a syllable to both beginning and end, so now one hears “di-hii-da-da-da”.

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    Below is a sonogram of these calls

    Mountain Chickadee 4 and 5 syllable variants “di-hi-da-dah” and “di-hi-da-da-dah”

    And finally on May 14, 2010 at the 5100’ elevation I recorded a bird that used the 4 syllable “di-hii-da-da” call exclusively.  Recorded with Telinga dish and PIPP-4 stereo mic into an Olympus LS-11 recorder.

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    And a final sonogram

    Mountain Chickadee 4 syllable variation “di-hi-da-dah”

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