Sunday, June 25, 2006

10 Most Beautiful Birdsongs Meme

Once again John at A DC Birding Blog has put together a meme that has drawn me into participation. To quote him: “Back in April I made a list of the birds I thought were most beautiful and asked other bird bloggers to name their own. The result was a great response, with some bloggers challenging the idea of judging a bird's beauty, and others challenging the meme's North American bias.

Now I would like to do the corollary exercise, naming favorite bird songs. Birds enchant us not just for their visual beauty, but also for their many vocalizations - some harsh, some soothing, some delightful, some comical.”

When it came time to put together my own list, I found the same difficulty I had in selecting birds for the Most Beautiful Bird Meme My list is long - how to find a way to choose… I decided to choose only from the birds that come onto this property during the year – that did help a bit but I still had more than ten birds on my list. With a great deal of difficulty I finally came up with the following list:
Black-capped Chickadee – One of my favorite visitors – not because his song is so very melodic but because he has such a wide variety of sounds and is cheery and friendly.
Wood Thrush - the flute like tones are part of the evening – essential to the quiet ending of the day just as the fireflies begin to appear.
Veery Another flute like song. Mid-afternoon when the light hits the far side of the house, the Veery will come to the bird bath, after splashing a bit and drying his wings he will perch on a small shrub and sing.
Purple Finch A herald of spring. For the first time since we have lived here we have two pair of Purple Finches nesting on the property… Their warbling song is lively and complex.
Carolina Wren the Winter Wren actually should be the winner of a place in the list but he is not a regular visitor so the Carolina Wren made my list.
Baltimore Oriole The Oriole visits for bits of fruit and sugar water- although none seem to be nesting nearby, they are regular visitors who “whistle” for their keep.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak – a welcome melodic warble adding a wonderful harmony with the bird choirs whose songs float through my window off and on during the day.
White-throated Sparrow Another early spring visitor, this year they seem to be spending the summer with us. Their whistled call of “old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” drifts up from the ground where they glean seeds and sunflower bits dropped by the other birds.
Yellow Warbler Sometimes I miss seeing the Yellow Warbler until I hear his song - There are so many American Goldfinches in the yard and at the feeders, that I don’t notice until I hear the I’m so sweet of his call.
Song Sparrow When I work in the yard, I find myself listening for the “sweet, sweet, sweet of the song sparrow – I frequently find him perched on a stump or in some of the grasses not too far away from the deck garden - he seems to me to be sending out a bit of joy to fill the surrounding woodland.

While searching for bird songs I found an interesting site where Tony has shared the songs of the Veery, the Swainson’s Thrush and the Hermit Thrush along with a piano interpretation of their songs at Bird Songs in Musical Notation
Following this site to “Home” I discovered even more about Songs and calls of some New York State birds


Blogger Elaine said...


6:06 PM  
Blogger kerrdelune said...

This is marvellous Endment, and I am off to think about it and scribble a list. For me, there just has to be a loon in there somewhere.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Yes.. I see that you really like the sounds of birds. Me too. ... I love the meadowlark sound.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful wonderful post.

I think I've asked you this before, but have you ever read "Wings at my Window" by Ada Clapham Glover? It is out of print but still around-- it is one of my all time favorite books and I have a feeling that you would like it, too.


8:59 PM  
Blogger Star said...

I also enjoy the bird songs. I can't say I really have a favorite as I associate each with a different time of day and memory.

I love the happy robin's song. And the mourning dove's plaintive song signals the end of day for me. The cardinal has several songs, all of which I love and especially welcome as the sun goes down and they are the last of our birds to visit before bedtime.

We are too urban for many of my favorites (like the meadowlark) and are unfortunate not to have a wren, whose throaty song I enjoyed this weekend while visiting my parents. It fills me with joy just to watch the wren as it sings; it is so earnest in sharing its happiness.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Your descriptions are always so thorough; it makes me feel as though I'm seeing or hearing whatever you describe.

9:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

I like the white-throated sparrow's song also. I associate it more with late winter, when the birds are just starting to sing again. At that time some birds (I assume the first-winter males) haven't quite gotten the song right yet. So what comes out is a weird, slightly off-key version of the standard song. I like it all the same, though. It is fun listening to the variation.

11:27 PM  
Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

I haven't finished my list yet, but can see that we'll share some favorite songsters!

Love the red-wing graphic - did you draw it?

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Fran aka Redondowriter said...

I love mourning doves, wild parrots, lunes, and the woodpecker's tap, tap, but I'm not very sophisticated about birds. There are a lot of wild peacocks near where I live and they sound like cats mating.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Endment said...

love the Meadowlark and it was on my long list but we do not have Meadowlarks here on this property.

glad to hear you are going to be doing this meme- I will be watching for your list! The loon also made it on my long list but even when we get our big pond in we will not have loons here so they didn't make it to the final list

cynthia e. bagley
one of the most treasured things about this property is the sounds of the birds, the water and the wind.

no I haven't read "Wings at my Window" by Ada Clapham Glover tried to get it from the local library but it is missing.

i certainally don't have a favorite in fact there are days when the am entertained by the loud call of the pileated woodpecker, the yonk of the nuthatch or delighted by the ringing teacher, teacher, teacher of the ovenbird -- however, I can't actually consider them to have exceptional musical talent :)

I keep thinking of the White-throat and spring but you are right- we had snow after I first heard them singing this year.

Looking forward to your list!
The graphic is a computer manipulation of a photo I took a couple of weeks ago.

fran aka redondowriter
i doubt that sophistication is an essential part of enjoying birds and birding. Sounds like you have a pretty interesting selection in your area.

12:47 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

I will listen for birdsong.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Lovely entry and meme. I am so in love with birdsong you would think I could identify the birds singing... but I can't - I just listen and enjoy.

1:16 AM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I would like to have more time to look up the sites you've mentioned - so I'm bookmarking this to get back to when i have more time. Then i would like to write about my fav bird songs too. But time's a problem at the moment ... isn't it always?

7:21 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

What a beautiful post: words and drawing. Love your list. I wish I had as many feathered visitors as you!

10:12 AM  
Blogger goldenlucyd said...

Good Morning Endment.
One of the few birdsongs I recognize is that of the mourning dove---and it affects me deeply. The call of the loon is another favorite touching and distinct birdcall. I wish I could identify more so I'm going to the link you suggested---thanks!
I also want to thank you for the kind and thoughtful comment you left on my post yesterday. Your stone-in-the-water analogy was wonderful.
All the best,

10:18 AM  
Blogger Pam in Tucson said...

Fascinating post with lovely descriptions. I'm just starting to learn bird songs. Heard so many lovely ones in BC. What a wonderful image to illustrate this post!

1:44 PM  
Blogger Gary Wood said...

The meadowlark is my favorite. Elaine beat me to it. I enjoy sharing a plain with buffalo and listening to the meadowlark. Its like he's calling just to me.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Pica said...

Oh thanks Endment. Canyon wren would surely top my list, and fox sparrow's not far behind. I'll have to think of this one...

12:03 PM  
Blogger lené said...

Hi Endment,
I love the white throated sparrow too. I heard many of them in the bog/swamp walk I took in NY last week.

9:49 AM  
Blogger pepektheassassin said...

I once had an oriole we raised from a baby. He grew up with the parakeets, and so spoke a lot of parakeet. In fact, his first words were parakeet! Believe it or not!

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

I would have chosen many of your own favorites.. but thrush will always remain my favorites. I could listen to them for hours on end.
Thanks for the link too!

2:51 PM  
Blogger MB said...

Oh, I would have to list the meadowlark, which we do have in these parts!

11:03 PM  
Blogger Gledwood said...

Hi there!
I found your post by accident; I was actually googling for the most beautiful birdsongs in Britain...
Most of those birds you listed sound very exotic to me!
We have songthrushes, we do have sparrows but they're house sparrows and their song goes something like a monotonous "chirp! chirp! chirp!" nothing amazing.
I've posted up three of our most musically beautiful birds in the last three days: the blackbird, robin and songthrush. Tomorrow the nightingale should put in an appearance... Come drop by if you're interested, have a click (you can see the birdies close-up on Youtube) and say hi!

2:34 PM  

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