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Whether you’re a casual observer or an avid bird watcher, most of us have our favorites and are delighted when we hear a familiar bird call or song. “Dawn song”, also called dawn chorus, is the habit of birds to sing as day breaks. This is especially evident in spring, as birds establish their territories for nesting.
Birding by ear (the ability to know a bird by its song, rather than seeing it), is a handy talent to have. This is especially handy when there are leaves on the trees that obscure viewing the bird.
The Audubon Shop can provide you with the tools you need to improve your ability to id a bird by hearing its song or call. We have a large collection of both North American and international bird call CDs (and DVDs, all available here: CDs and DVDs
One of our favorite CDs for learning the songs and calls of the eastern and central US is Birding by Ear, Eastern-Central Audio CD.
Instead of merely providing a catalog of bird song samples, Birding by Ear actually teaches. This proven method has greatly enhanced the field experience for birders across North America, and increased our ability to id bird calls 100%.
It’s like taking your own private class on how to listen to bird calls. The authors give auditory clues to help you remember the calls. For example, “who cooks for you″ is one call of a Barred Owl.
The authors have created learning groups of similar vocalizations and clearly point out distinguishing characteristics. Using techniques such as phonetics, mnemonics, and descriptive words, Walton and Lawson provide a context for learning the songs and calls of eighty-five species of birds found east of the Rockies.
The Audubon Shop had the pleasure of having Dick Walton come to Madison to conduct a workshop back when the CD was published. We were amazed by this technique and feel it increased our ability to id a bird 100%.