Bird Song Hero: The song learning game for everyone

Here's your chance to become a birdsong hero by playing the bird song ID game that

starts from square one and trains you how to visualize and remember the songs

that catch your attention but, don't always stick. Time to show what you're

made of and become a better birder at the same

time. First let's get you trained. Birders get up before dawn, not just because

there's that kind of obsessed but, also because that's when most birds are

singing their hearts out. This Northern Cardinal song is a common early morning

sound across much of the U.S. so you might already recognize it. What's amazing is

that the bird is performing impressive feats of vocal gymnastics with those

repetitive whoops spanning more pitches in a piano in just

a tenth of a second. Visualizing a cardinal song helps you fully appreciate

the vocal genius. Here on this spectrogram you see time from left to

right and pitch from high to low and the brighter it is, the louder.

Spectrograms stimulate the visual parts of our brain and help us commit song patterns to

memory that's why many birders use them.

Now that you've got the basics, you're ready to train your visual brain with

birdsong hero. To get started we'll play this Tufted

Titmouse song three times. While you listen, compare the three spectrograms

and decide which one is the correct match. Then we'll reveal the answer. Here goes:

And here comes the answer: the correct answer is B, titmice repeat the

same notes in a series. Compare that with A; notice how the American Redstart

changes things up at the end? And C, the Mourning Dove starts with a little flourish.

Now let's try the Carolina chickadee. Ready?

The correct answer is A. Carolina chickadees sing four distinct notes that step down and pitch.

Let's hear the others for comparison.First B: the Verdon sings four notes but keeps

them all at roughly the same pitch.

and now C: the Golden Crown Sparrow steps down in pitch but only sings three notes.

Now try the Eastern Meadowlark.

Ready for the answer?

This time it's B. Eastern Meadowlarks' songs have big pitch sweeps and a nice rhythm.

Compare that with A. The Eastern Wood Peewee sings without any rhythmic breaks.

And C, the Black-Capped Chickadee has a compact song with no pitch sweeps.

Here's something a little more complex: The Carolina Wren.

And the correct spectrogram is, A. This Carolina Wren repeats its pattern five times. In B the

In B, the Common Yellow-Throat only repeats its pattern three times.

And in C, the Painted Bunting song is overall, a little less organized.

Now for the final question listen to the song of a Wood Thrush. It goes by fast

but, it has a lot of character.

Did you get it? It's C. Wood Thrushes are a

favorite of many birders because they're more haunting and musical than most.

In A, the Eastern Towhee has a similar trill at the end but a descending slide comes first.

And in B, the Song Sparrow puts its trill in the middle instead of at the end.

Interested in more? It's fun, right? There's more where that came from.

Be a better bird nerd. Take the full bird song hero challenge. Learn everything there is

to know about bird song and download free bird songs at Birdsonghero.org

Learn everything else there is to know about birds at, AllAboutBirds.org