Date: 6/11/18 3:43 am
From: Hugh Whelan via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Listener beware. A Southington Cerulean turned into a Black-throated Blue
Thank you so much Jack and Greg for your helpful and thoughtful answers. I
would say another of the things that makes birding so fun are the kind and
extremely knowledgeable people one meets who are willing to share their
expertise. My apologies also Jack for not checking your eBird list first
which answered my first question. I do think sonograms are helpful as
"auditory impressions" are inherently imprecise (at least mine!). I was
also almost fooled recently by a hybrid Brewster's Warbler singing a Blue
Winged Warbler song until it popped into view. Thanks again, Hugh Whelan

On Sun, Jun 10, 2018 at 10:02 PM Jack Swatt <jswattbirds...> wrote:

> The fact that the birds never follow the rules is something that I
> think makes birding so fun, and confusing at the same time. The habitat
> that I had heard this bird singing had some openings in the canopy due to
> large rocky ledges, so I thought Cerulean was possible. Another
> experienced birder from New Hampshire had told me if you hear that song
> from high up in the trees it favors Cerulean, rather than Black-throated
> Blue which sing from lower perches, and this bird was singing from high in
> a tree. Being on a mountain top was the only thing that favored
> Black-throated Blue, and made me second guess it. Like Greg was pointing
> out, hearing, seeing and learning the birds and their habits is the best
> way to know when something is just not right.
> To answer Hugh's questions, I did actually see the bird singing the
> song and recorded it. It's on my ebird list here:
> I don't think The Warbler Guide, and all the other birdsong guides are
> wrong. I must admit I thought the same thing when I first heard it and was
> adamant that it sounded identical to the Cerulean Warbler song I heard on
> my Birdpod (some of you may remember that old technology). They may have
> just been unaware of this alternate Black-throated Blue song when their
> guides were being published. I think it maybe, or may have started out as
> a regional difference. I had heard of it first in New Hampshire but was
> also reported in Vermont and Mass. Last year was the first I had heard of
> it in CT so I did some digging on Xeno-canto and found there are also some
> recordings from New York and Pennsylvania. The explosion of bird song
> recordings with the smart phones is probably going to help increase our
> awareness of where and when this alternate song is being sung. I always
> thought this might make an interesting research project for a budding
> ornithologist. I'm also amazed at how similar the spectrographs appear to
> the recordings from each species. I was also thinking of contacting Tom
> Stephenson and Scott Whittle in case they are planning a second edition,
> but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm also trying to get a better
> recording of it.
> If this may sound discouraging to any new birders, don't worry. We've
> all made identification mistakes along the way. It's just part of the
> learning process.
> Jack Swatt
> Wolcott
Hugh Whelan
C: 860-480-4640
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