Mnemonic Winter Bird Calls

Mnemonic: “assisting or intended to assist memory” is a way that some learn bird calls — most of us have heard the Barred Owl’s “Who Cooks for You?” or the White-throated Sparrow’s “Peabody Peabody Peabody” or “O Canada, O Canada, O Canada.”   Since we have so few birds around, for me it’s a good time to get going on sharpening recognition skills because the warblers are down south, starting to think about heading northward.  At least I hope they are.

So I listed some of the species we are seeing around Vermont this winter and included their mnemonic description and in some cases, a recording.  Note that our friends at Cornell have on their wonderful About Birds site not only descriptions but calls.

American Goldfinch
pa-chip-chip-chip per-chick-a-ree
po-ta-to-chip (and dip {in flight})

American Kestrel
klee; klee; klee

American Robin
cheer-up; cheer-a-lee; cheer-ee-o, whinny
AMRO_song_mp3

Belted Kingfisher
stuttering; non-musical; dry rattle in-flight
BEKI call

The rattling call of the Belted Kingfisher is unmistakeable.  photo by mikebaird

The rattling call of the Belted Kingfisher is unmistakeable. photo by mikebaird

Black-capped Chickadee
chk-a-dee-dee-dee (rapid; higher-pitched than Carolina); fee-bee
BCCH_song_mp3

Bohemian Waxwing
Bzeee-bzeee-bzeee-bzeee
BOWA flight call

Brown Creeper
trill (hp; rapid) always as individuals
BRCR Call

Common Redpoll
a chatter of several sharp, zapping notes; a nasal, rising whistle lasting nearly half a second; and a rattle or trill that lasts nearly a second
CORE call 1 (.mp3)  CORE call 2 (.mp3)

Cooper’s Hawk
normally silent except for breeding season kac-kac-kac, kuck, kuck kuck, kuck
COHA call

Dark-eyed Junco
dit (repeated occasionally); smack (repeated occasionally); chipping trill (musical; tinkling)
DEJU_song_mp3 (mp3)

Downy Woodpecker
peeek (sharply) whinny

Golden-crowned Kinglet
see-see-see- (hp)
GCKI call

I hear the high-pitched call of the Golden-crowned Kinglet high in the trees but can't spot the little guy/gal.  photo by Seabarium

I hear the high-pitched call of the Golden-crowned Kinglet high in the trees but can’t spot the little guy/gal. photo by Seabarium

Hairy Woodpecker
pik (flat) whinny
HAWO call

House Sparrow
chiddik; chiddik (dry; non-musical)
HOSP call mp3

Mourning Dove
hooo-ah hoo-hoo-hoo; chirry-chirry-chirry-choreeo

Pine Grosbeak
tew tew tew, or pui-pui-pui  whistled
PIGR_flight_call_mp3

Pine Siskin
zreeeeeee! (buzzy)

Purple Finch
warbling – varied phrases; fast; lively; brief

Red-breasted Nuthatch
ank-ank-ank (nasal monotone)
RBNU_call_mp3

Red-tailed Hawk
keeeeeeeeer

Tufted Titmouse
cheeva; cheeva; cheeva fer-da; fer-da; fer-da
here; here; here peter-peter-peter-

White-breasted Nuthatch
anh-anh-anh-anh- (nasally); tooy-tooy-tooy-tooy
wee-wee-wee-wee-who-who-who-who-
WBNU call

Winter Wren
varied; complicated; bubbly and busy
WIWR call

Sign up by RSS feed or via email to have future articles sent to you.

This entry was posted in bird calls, bird song and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.