Date: 3/20/17 6:02 pm
From: 'Bailey, Steven D' <sdbailey...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET singing birds
I heard one of our AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS singing again today at the side of our house. There is something about their somewhat plaintive song that I enjoy, despite its simplistic nature. Part of its attraction is probably that I don't get to hear it often enough, before they are off to the northern taiga.
Speaking of rarely heard bird songs, while on our weekend stay at Starved Rock State Park a week or so ago, Sheryl and I both were able to hear one of the three HERMIT THRUSHES that we saw on Sat. & Sun. giving a soft, "whisper" version of its flute-like, mellifluous song... singing the soft song, over and over again. This was one of the few times that either of us had ever heard this species sing in Illinois, even though they are common and have protracted stays here during migration and winter. It is a pretty interesting aspect of this species natural history, especially since the other three Catharus species can often be heard singing in their passage through Illinois. Paul Clyne wrote a very good article on this very topic in the IOS Meadowlark journal in Volume 15, No. 3, entitled "The love song of Catharus guttatus: Hermit Thrushes singing in Illinois".
I don't know how any experienced birder can thoroughly enjoy birds without learning their various and highly variable and enjoyable songs which, not only help to I.D. them, but also give each bird species its own distinctive character. Personally, I have never seen a Black Rail (but hope to someday)... but have heard the calls and song of the bird, as close as ten feet from me. Who could truly enjoy going through an entire spring migration without knowing all of the various songsters that were singing in the dawn chorus each morning? Good birding!

Steve Bailey
Mundelein (Lake Co.)

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