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Relaxing Stream Sounds Soothe The Soul!

By harrisjensen - Posted on 17 March 2011

Bird songs identified on sound track of Rocky Mountain River!

Many thanks to the birders at Cornell Lab Of Ornithology and graduate student Matt Young!

Learn to identify bird songs with this sound track and links to Cornell Lab web site!

"Backyard Birdsong Guide" quite helpful in identifying  birds by sound!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

I was jogging last week with my dog Charlie and heard the first meadowlark sing for spring.  The next day I heard black birds.  This week I saw a V of 200 Canada Geese winging northward, along the Front Range of The Rocky Mountains here in Fort Collins.

Spring has sprung!

No better way to celebrate spring that with birds, seeing and hearing them, and knowing their names.  Birding is a passion I've always had since a young boy.  Boy Scouts gave me experiences to deepen that appreciation.

In May, 2009 I recorded 20 minutes of stream sounds high in the Snowy Range of Wyoming.  It was a little creek I call Serenity Creek.  I'm not alone in enjoying the creek.  I've seen tracks of beaver, mink, elk, moose, deer, bear among others up there, in God's country.  To get this sound track, click Bird Song.

To listen to the lush sounds of the stream and the singing birds is to have spring every day.  I put the audio file on my iPod on my iPhone and listen to it most days.  I love nature...but for the life of me I couldn't figure out the names of the birds singing those songs!

One I knew was a robin, another I suspected was a yellow warbler.

As a kind of "hail mary pass" I slung an email out to the good folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York.  I read about them in the great book "The Backyard Birdsong Guide," by Donald Kroodsma.  This is one fine book by the way.  If Donald ever reads this, I sure thank you for writing and recording it.

Well someone named Anne returned my email and they asked for more information and I finally got this email:

Hello Harris,

Anne sent your recording to me, and I passed it on to Matt Young, one of our audio engineers and an excellent birder. Below is his list of birds on the recording. I hope that this helps!

Dr. Mike Webster
Robert G. Engel Associate Professor of Ornithology
     & Director, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds
Dept of Neurobiology & Behavior
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850-1999

The Mission of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is to interpret and conserve the Earth's

biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.
The identify of the birds?
Here's Matt's list:
Subject: Re: All About Birds: Can you identify these bird songs?
Hi Mike,

Here’s a list from most prominent to least

Warbling Vireo
House Wren
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird
Yellow Warbler
Pine Siskin
American Robin

I took the liberty to add links to the sound files at the Ornithology Lab so you the listener can hear the song of the birds above and then pick them out on the sound file...
Thanks again to all the good people at the Ornithology Lab and the help from the good professor, Dr. Mike Webster, and Anne Hobbs, public information specialist.
You folks make birding more fun!


Another note to readers:  if you want to use the bird song and river sound sound track to learn to pick out birds and identify them by sound, open up this article in one window on your browser. Then in another tab or window on your browser, come back to Good Day Journal and this article and click on the link above to the sound track.  Download the river sounds and start listening to it.  Then open up the other window that has the links to bird sounds above, and click them one by one, and you will hear the bird sounds with the pictures of the birds.  You will be able to identify the names of the birds that are on the sound track. Enjoy the new world of identifying birds by sound!


As a side note, to Mr. Kroodsma.  One night this past winter, I heard a hooting on top of my house.  Not one to miss an opportunity for fun and education, I got my 6 year old daughter out on the back porch and asked her what was she hearing.  She said she didn't know.  Why was I asking?  We pushed the button on number 18 sound track, in the book, The Backyard Birdsong Guide, so my daughter could see that was the sound she was listening to.

But the owl on the roof hooted back at sound coming from our book!

We carefully creeped forward and saw in the dim moon light, the shadowy outline of the female Great Horned Owl, as it hooted away.  We kept hooting at it from the book, and it kept hooting back at us for several minutes, then it flew away.  My daughter was hooked on birding after that experience!  What a hoot!