The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Bird Identification Carolina wren-like bird songs

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    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      cowvet
      I am in east TN and am wondering what birds sound something like a Carolina wren. I heard a bird in some trees; it had a nice echoing/flute-like repeat (5 times) that was fast and even. The closest bird sound I know is a Carolina wren, but it lacked a certain quality (like a squeaky handle being cranked around) that those wrens have. Any ideas?
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    • Lee Ann van Leer
      Bird Academy
      LilacRoller
      Sounds may be hard to determine based on a written description. Try looking up various thrush songs and calls. Wood Thrush has a echoing flute-like song and its call notes are repeated. However that isn't exactly how you described it. If you hear it again try to record it.  The free Merlin App has sounds for each species to listen too. The following are thrushes to look up:  Veery, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, and Wood Thrush. You may also look up those birds on allaboutbirds.org Tufted Titmouse has a wide variety of sounds that sometimes can be similar to Carolina Wren. However those are distinct notes usually.
      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        cowvet
        Thanks for your suggestions, and the reminder that I can use my Merlin app to check out the sounds easily. Of the birds you suggested, the Wood thrush call is the only possible candidate. I can listen for the song of that bird to confirm it. Is there a time of day when I am most likely to hear it? Maybe I need to walk that way earlier in the morning. I also think is could have been a Carolina wren, since we have lots of them here. If so, singing from the woods changed the acoustics enough that it sounded different to me. Those tufted titmice are a challenge. Yesterday, I was sure I was hearing a group of chickadees working through the trees. The movement was quick, like the chickadee. However, when I finally saw the side of one I saw blue on the dorsal portion of the bird. I never got a good look of the crest, but I still think they were titmice that fooled me. I decided to compare the recordings on Merlin, since I was doing that with the thrushes. I think it helped. Thanks again!
    • KP3
      Participant
      Chirps: 68
      KParker73
      Maybe an Eastern Meadowlark?  If not, is the meadowlark sound any closer or further from what you heard?
      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        cowvet
        Thanks for your suggestion!  I listened to some recordings of Eastern meadowlarks. They generally seem to lack the consistency I heard, so I would say it is less like a meadowlark. It also came from a patch of trees/rather small wooded area. Each of the 5 repeated phrases sounded essentially the same. I had considered the possibility of a warbler, but I don't think any repeat phrases 5 times with regularity.
      • KP3
        Participant
        Chirps: 68
        KParker73

        @Jean Northern Cardinal maybe?  My ears tend to mix up Carolina Wrens, Ovenbirds, Northern Cardinals and Tufted Titmice.  They can be whistle/flute-like to me sometimes and have that repeat quality.  These are birds I never trust myself to ID by sound only.   If it is a warbler, I won't be much help.  I struggle with all the warblers out there lol.   I  hope you get your ah-ha moment and can ID the bird.  I heard an Eastern Meadowlark for about a week this spring before I saw him.  I listened to so many audio files haha.

      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        cowvet

        @KP3 It didn't sound like a cardinal. Yeah, I often have to hear a bird a few times before I am confident enough on its identity to record it on eBird.  Actually, a lot of what I see and hear doesn't get recorded, because I am unsure as to the birds identity. I did go out this morning and heard the bird in question again. I may put the hi-res recorder back on my phone to try to record it. I heard a second sound coming from the same place: a (quick) low note, followed by a pair of higher notes, followed by a trill. It really lacked the quality of a wood thrush, though. I noted that the wood thrush call that sound like my bird was recorded in Costa Rica four decades ago. Still puzzled. :-)

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