New Help to ID Bird – Westcoast Redwords
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Apr 23, 2014 at 10:15 am #1315977
I need some help here from birders. I pretty much can ID most of the birds in my area – coastal redwood forest, from their songs. There is a (presumed) semi-migratory bird that has become my Nemesis. It arrived for the first time near my house last year – after living here for 13 years without hearing it. My gardener thinks she heard the same near her house in years past, but is unsure. Might be common, just not specifically by my house. It spends all its time, apparently, high up in the canopy of Redwoods and Douglass fir. By its song it seems to stay mostly in one place, but it does move to other spots in the canopy and sing there. I have never yet been able to sight it, in spite of standing out side with my binoculars long enough to risk having the neighbor call the police on me.
I start hearing it sing in April or late March (Santa Cruz County, CA) and I stop hearing it mid to late summer. That is is why I assume it comes here to breed. From the sound/picth of its voice I am assuming the bird to be of wren size, though of course that is pure guesswork.
Fortunately, it has a very distinct, simple 3-note song that it repeats (more or less all day long) from just before dawn to just after sunset. Even when most of the other birds, even the local Robins, have shut up. As near as I can make it out on the piano the notes are D#-52, B-60, B-48, (po-taay-toe) you could probably play them on a virtual piano website is you want to hear it. Each note is approximately equal in length (but second marginally longer) separated by about 1/2 second (or maybe a little less) with the pitch very slightly falling off at the ends of the last two notes. It is easy to whistle, so much so that my Grey Parrots have started to imitate as they get to hear it a lot out the window.
So I figure with a simple song like that it would be a no-brainer to locate the ID using a list of local birds and going through the sound files. I have literally gone through the Santa Cruz county bird list, starting with ones that seemed most likely, moving through the ocean birds which I though might come inland a few miles to breed, continuing on the checklist through things it was almost certainly not, like a raptor, and finally in desperation checking out ones I was sure it wasn't, like owls! No luck.
Any ideas? If not any suggestion on how to find the right bird through the song files. I have been using an Audubon app that has all the bird in North America usually with multiple song files for each, and in desperation I have even dipped in the Cornell Ornithology databases. I can't seem to find the bird. I'm sure it will turn out to be something very prosaic.Apr 23, 2014 at 10:29 am #2095601Dave TMember
It's a totally random guess, but when I heard three-note call that rises in the middle, and that they repeat over and over, and found way up high in conifers to where they are hard to see, it makes me think of the Olive-Sided Flycatcher. But I only know them from up in the coniferious forest of the Sierra Nevada.
If the call sounds like "quick three beers"… that's your bird.Apr 23, 2014 at 10:33 am #2095604
Hey, even random bird suggestions are good for me as I can at least check the sounds on line. Thanks, I'll check it out.Apr 23, 2014 at 10:43 am #2095606
Yep, that's it! Finally. Thanks for the help.
Edit: looks like it is in fact on the Santa Cruz Co. bird list, spring & summer, uncommon. Guess I missed it. I should send you a big bag of bird seed or something for solving that for me.Apr 23, 2014 at 10:52 am #2095610Dave TMember
Right on! It really is one of those dang birds that is right at the top of conifers in the forest, so you never get a good look at one, it seems. But the call is super distinctive. Glad my random guess worked out… always happy to help another birder.
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