[Cornell Lab staff imitating bird song] — [Marc] Sweet Sweet Sweet – Isn’t it sweet? — [Mya] Old Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody. — [Kathi] Quick, Three Bears! — [Michael] Drink Your Tea! — [Marc] I will see you, and I’ll seize you, and I’ll squeeze you till you squirt! You can think that this is the Warbling Vireo talking to the insect: “I will see and and I’ll seize you and I’ll squeeze you until you squirt.” [LEARNING BIRD SONGS] — [Michael] Before I could identify bird songs they all sort of blended together. — [Kathi] Learning how to identify bird songs by ear is super important to develop great birding skills. — [Andrew] The cacophony or the ensemble of birds that are singing really give me a sense of place. — [Kathi]  It’s for me like wearing a comfortable blanket. I feel secure when I know who is singing around me. — [Marc] It makes me feel like I’m maybe a secret governmental agent who is always aware of their surroundings. They know where everybody is seated in a room, right, so it’s kind of like that. — [Andrew] It allows me to go out into the forest any time of the year and detect a lot of the birds that I might not be able to see. — [Kathi] If you’re just starting out trying to learn bird song, go slow. — [Michael] Once you know the songs and you know the mnemonics it’s much easier to figure out which sounds belong to a single individual. — [Kathi] How often do you get to see a Connecticut Warbler? Not very. But if you hear it you’re like Oh! I know that there’s a Connecticut Warbler in here and I’m going spend some time searching around looking for it. 

End of transcript

Quiz yourself! Which birds are we imitating in the video? (Scroll down to find the answers.)

It’s for me like wearing a comfortable blanket. I feel secure when I know who is singing around me.”

Kathi Borgmann, Cornell Lab Science Writer

How to Identify Bird Song uses a unique teaching approach. Travel North America visiting real soundscapes.

Did you test yourself on the bird species we imitated in the video?
Here they are in order of appearance:

  1. Mourning Dove
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Barred Owl
  4. Eastern Screech Owl
  5. Asian Koel
  6. Yellow WarblerSweet, sweet, sweet. Isn’t it sweet?
  7. White-throated SparrowOld Sam Peabody Peabody Peabody!
  8. Olive-sided FlycatcherQuick three beers!
  9. Eastern TowheeDrink your tea!
  10. Warbling VireoI’ll see you and I’ll seize you and I’ll squeeze you ’til you squirt!

Follow the links to hear what each bird really sounds like.

Videographers: Chris Foito & Karen Rodriguez
Editor: Chris Foito
Producers: Mya Thompson & Sarah Wagner
Appearances by (in chronological order): Mya Thompson, Michael Huffaker, Marc Devokaitis, Andrew Weber, Ashik Rahaman, Kathi Borgmann