Eastern Ecological Science Center (formerly Patuxent Wildlife Research Center) (EESC)    Migratory Bird Research (MBR)    Comments/FAQ(comments)

Bird Songs

In many ways, surveying a BBS route is a test of the commitment and capabilities of a birder. Aside from the physical difficulties of getting to the starting point of the route before dawn and conducting the 50 counts, the observer must be able to quickly and correctly identify the species of birds present at each stop. One skill that separates BBS observers from most birders is their knowledge of bird sounds. Most of the birds counted in the BBS are never even seen by the observers, who often identify species based on single songs or chip notes. Achieving this level of skill requires an enormous amount of committment and training.

Recognizing this need for information of bird songs, Robbins et al. (1983) provided sonagrams based on field recordings of birds. There are also many commercially available recordings of bird songs. In this part of the Home Page, we make available recordings of selected North American birds. These recordings are primarily from 2 sources: (1) recordings made by Chandler S. Robbins, and (2) recordings made by John Sauer in Maryland, Maine, and Pennsylvania. Recordings were transferred from tape to a Sun Audio File (.au) format and a .wav format.

When you click on a species name, the server will try to transfer the song file to your computer. If your brower is prepared to accept songs, it should automatically store the file and call up your sound recording and playback program. Please note--If you do not have a sound card and software that can play songs in this format, then you will not be able to use this part of the Home Page!

These songs represent our first try at converting the sounds to computer files, and some of the editing shows our lack of experience. Please bear with us, and let us know whether the sounds are of use to you. Also, we are very interested in developing a more-extensive repertoire of songs. If you have some high quality bird recordings on casette that you would be willing to introduce into the public domain, we will be happy to scan them into computer files and make them available to users of the Home Page. Of course, any contributors will be acknowledged on the Home Page.

Literature Cited

Robbins, C. S, B. Bruun, and H. S. Zim.  1983.  Birds of North America.
     Golden Press, New York.  360pp.