[CT Birds] "Interesting experience" - confusing bird songs

Mntncougar at aol.com Mntncougar at aol.com
Thu Mar 15 21:33:51 EDT 2012

Since I saw my name mentioned in the post below:
"Paul brings up a topic of interest to me. Last year in Boston Hollow Don  
Morgan and I had a brief discussion about a Black-throated Blue Warbler 
reacting  to the (iPod-produced) song of a Cerulean Warbler. Sometimes (OK, 
often, in my  case) people have difficulty distinguishing the song of one 
species from that of  another with a similar song. But I can't believe that there 
is any confusion for  these birds. A slowed-down sonogram will show us the 
differences, and certainly  these birds can hear those differences. Perhaps 
these similar-song species react  to one another's songs because they have 
similar nesting habitat requirements?  Anybody on top of research in this area?

Rob Mirer
South  Windsor"
I can add a little more to it and also mention some other "sound  alike's" 
germane to Paul's post.
I first ran into the BT Blue - Cerulean issue about 3 years ago in Boston  
Hollow. I heard 2 birds which I was certain were Ceruleans, but had a lot  
of trouble finding them. One I never saw, but after spending several DAYS  
looking for 1 in the same location I was amazed to find it was a BT  Blue. 
Subsequently I found several others in the Boston Hollow area that  sounded the 
same, and last year the whole group on a bird walk there heard  one, to 
which Rob probably refers. That one was not as close to Cerulean as some  
though. Part of the reason it is so confusing for me there is because I  did, in 
fact, find a Cerulean in the same area, and there are several locations  
nearby in the northeast corner where they have been found quite  reliably.

With regard to Paul D's bird, there are three birds that I know of that  
will all respond to any of the three songs, Chipping Sparrow, Pine Warbler and 
 Worm-eating Warbler. I suspect that Junco is not usually an issue because 
they  aren't usually in this area at the same time. However, I've discovered 
in the  last year that there is a summer population of Juncos in Canaan, 
and of course  they do sing more readily in spring and summer. Having now 
heard them quite  often I can see why they might have to be added  to that 
group, though I  don't know first-hand that they would respond to the others, or 
the others to  them. But it's obvious that birds are not always perfectly 
tuned to their own  kind. Perhaps Blue-wing and Golden-wing could also be 
pointed out, but of course  they are very closely related.
Don Morgan

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