You often hear birds more than you see them, so how do you know what birds are hanging around? You can figure this out by learning the bird songs. Each bird species has its own call or song to communicate with other birds. Learning the different bird calls takes a lot of practice, but you can start with learning some easy bird song mnemonics. These are patterns in the song that help you remember which song belongs to which bird. You associate words or phrases to certain bird calls to make them easier to learn and to remember. Learning a few of these is a great way to get kids involved in the outdoors too. Instead of taking them birding, you can get them to find the birds that call for cheeseburgers and potato chips.
Backyard Bird Mnemonics:
Black -capped Chickadee: “Chika-dee-dee-dee” and also “Cheeseburger”
Red Breasted Robin: “Chur-a lee, Chur-a-loo”
Red-winged Blackbird: “Per-chick-er-eeeee ( or "My terr-i-tor-eeee”)
American Goldfinch: “Potato Chip. Potato chip and dip”
Eastern Phoebe: "Phee-bee"
Killdeer: “Key-dee, key-dee, key-dee”
Red-eyed Vireo: “See me, here I am, up here, look at me” (repeated)
Forest and Natural Area Bird Mnemonics:
Chestnut-sided Warbler: “Please-please-please-pleased-to-meetcha"
Black-throated Blue Warbler: “I am so laz-ee”
Yellow Warbler “Sweet, sweet, I am so sweet”
Eastern Towhee “Two-weee. Drink your Tea-ee-ee-ee”
Common Yellowthroat: “Witchity witchity whitchity witch” W
ood thrush “Ee-o-laay”(flutelike)
Eastern Wood Peewee: “Pee-o-weeee"
Ovenbird: “Teacher, teacher, teacher, TEACHER, TEACHER!”(ascending in volume)
White-throated Sparrow: “Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada”
Great Horned Owl: “Who’s awake? Me too”
Barred Owl: “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?"
Did you know?
- Listening to birds improves mental health, in fact, just five minutes a day can reduce “Winter Blues”.
- Bird songs make people feel less crowded in urban areas
- Hearing birds call can help you sleep better.
All About Birds has all kinds of great information on birds visit. They also have a free bird ID app for your smart phone called "Merlin" that helps you ID birds and has the calls for over 400 North American birds.