Date: 2/28/18 4:37 pm From: Barbara Deihl <barbdeihl...> Subject: [Tweeters] 'mystery' trill identified and now, confirmed by another Tweeter
2 days ago, I posted a little upbeat post about the bird sights and sounds I'd experienced in my Matthews Beach Neighborhood that day. One sound, a softish trilling, had me baffled. That was, until today. I got a good clue yesterday when I again was hearing the song. And also, yesterday, another clue - in the early afternoon, I also heard some very familiar Merlin calls - chittering and pic-calling - about a block or 2 away. We have been having Merlin activity in this area for the past few years. But what clicked for me, was a sound-effect that had accompanied the first Merlin monitoring I/we had done in the Victory Hts. neighborhood, 10 years ago. Every morning there was a Dark-eyed Junco singing its heart out from a small tree in front of "Dave's" house, which turned out to be right next to that year's Merlin nest pine. This flooded back into my memory.
So I did a search online and found this, under "Dark-eyed Junco vocalizations" :
Male Dark-eyed Juncos sing an even, musical trill of 7-23 notes that lasts up to 2 seconds... and is loud enough to be heard from several hundred feet away.
After playing the song, I was sold on this as being what I both remembered and was now hearing. Even the phrase "loud enough to be heard from several hundred feet away" fit, though the volume in my neighborhood varies as the songs ring out from different trees and at different times.
Juncos are a common prey draw for the urban Merlins, thus connecting the 2 species.
Just before writing this today, I heard from Ken Grant, with the D-E Junco suggestion - he had just been having and hearing this same sound in his neighborhood and had just ID'd the 'singer' as being a junco !
No Merlin calls today, but lots of juncos - there's still hope for the Merlins to return again this year :-)
Thanks, Ken Such fun !
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle