Date: 7/6/20 1:08 pm
From: Kay Carter <KayCarter001...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Mystery Song
The only alteration I made to the recording was to amplify it some.

I agree with you, Mike, though I hardly have the expertise that you do.

The suggestions of Purple Finch and Robin come much closer to matching the “quality” of the sound, to my ear.


From: Mike Clarke <transvolcanic...>
Sent: Monday, July 06, 2020 1:00 PM
To: <paultsullivan...>
Cc: OBOL <obol...>; <KayCarter001...>
Subject: Re: [obol] Re: Mystery Song

Having done many years of marsh bird monitoring in the midwest (another region where Sora are common), I've never heard a Sora give it's two-noted call in a fashion like this one. This call is much mellower and more liquid sounding than the Sora's high-pitched "pu-weeep". The timbre and lack of intensity are all wrong for Sora (unless somehow the recording has been edited).

Mike Clarke

On Sun, Jul 5, 2020 at 8:34 PM Paul Sullivan <paultsullivan...><mailto:<paultsullivan...>> wrote:

Thank you for sending me the audio file, and the added information that there is a wetland with Red-winged Blackbirds.

I will say with firm conviction that this is a SORA, and not a Hutton's Vireo. It is two-noted and up-slurred. The initial note is longer. "pooo-WEEEP"

A Hutton's Vireo does a higher pitched, also up-slurred call, but shorter: "s'WEEEP , s'WEEEP. s'WEEEP"

I can imitate both species (I speak the language), and I've had conversations with both of them. I don't know what I'm saying, but I know what they sound like.

Paul Sullivan


Subject: Re: Mystery Song
Date: Sun Jul 5 2020 16:43 pm
From: KayCarter001 AT<>

I can confirm that the other call is, indeed Red-winged Blackbird. The recording was made on the edge of a small wetland that hosts them year-round.

Most responses have leaned towards Hutton�s Vireo, which is also on my list of possibilities. I�ve never heard one quite like this, but then I had an experience later the same day that emphasizes that identifying birds by ear alone is not always as reliable as we�d like. I�ll post about that shortly.

Subject: Mystery Song
Date: Sun Jul 5 2020 9:25 am
From: KayCarter001 AT<>

I recorded the attached at about 8:00 AM on Thursday, 7/2, in Canby. I was never able to see the bird, which seemed to be deep in a group of curly willows. It called continuously for several minutes. I feel like I ought to be able to put a name to it, but I'm not having any success. Any suggestions? (I'm after the repeated 2-syllable "do-whit" call.)

Kay Carter


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