You all know I’m a fairly new birder…and still learning to identify most birds; not to mention their calls. Lately, I’ve heard a song that sounds a lot like the "Mar-co --
Po-lo" call that kids call back and forth when playing the hide-and-seek game. I never could see the bird (believing it was something new), but regularly have heard the call. I often answered it with a whistle, but suspect the ‘answer’ was more likely to another I’d hear a couple yards over.
A birding pal, Dave Moore, suggested it might be a Black-capped Chickadee; but this sounded nothing like the "chick-a-dee-dee-dees" or the 'seets', and chatter that I’m used to hearing from the little black and white birds.
However, I happen to have a copy of Ted Floyd’s Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America, a rather large ‘field guide’, but certainly worth having for the several beautiful photographs of each bird; great for research. Probably even better, if that’s possible, is the accompanying CD which holds 587 down loadable bird songs…again, several songs for each bird covered.
Because of Dave’s suggestion, I popped in the CD and headed right for the BLCACH foulder (is that the abbreviation for this bird?) The first recording I clicked on was the exact call I’ve been hearing! Who knew? Wow! Seems most birds have several calls…kind of like discovering (on my own) that crows also make a weird rattling sound I heard when they were mobbing an owl, in addition to their caw-caw we most often hear. That was easy to confirm though, because I was watching the birds.
I just love learning this stuff. One of the things I learned from another lovely little book; "Finding Your Wings: A Workbook for Beginning Bird Watchers, by Burton Guttman, is to be ready to identify birds. The author suggests reading about and knowing which birds to expect. I plan to spend more time listening to bird calls while I'm reading about the birds. I'm quite sure this will further help me learn to identify what I hear and see while out bird watching. Whoo hoo!
Thanks again Dave!
And thanks to Ted Floyd who gave me the permission to post the call here...but then I couldn't figure out how to upload the file. Grrrrrrr; pictures yes, sound files no. You can hear the call on Cornell's site, here.
Addendum; Because of Bosque Bill's comments, I've added a link to a page with a whole bunch of different Chickadee calls. It's a wonderful page; check it out!
Photo from Wikipedia