Topics

locked Introduction / California thrasher


Alia.S.
 

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Alia
Regarding apps, one you may want to try is BirdGenie
http://www.birdgenie.com/
It was created by Tom Stephenson a friend of mine, but admit that I have yet to use it as my brain wired to bird song before cell phones were even a viable idea. But the technology behind it is very cool, you record a song and it identifies the birds for you. If you can find articles by Tom regarding how to think about and visualize bird song, I would recommend doing that. He has developed a pretty consistent language to describe bird song.
Now, old school, here is what worked for me. When you hear something that you don't recognize, chase it down. Focus on the sound, and follow it until you can visually identify the bird. The connection your brain makes with the sound, the image, and the time you are focused and searching is like no other tool. You will miss a bunch, and that is ok. But as you learn you will find that you have to chase down fewer and fewer until you realize that you know ALL of the birds in your home patch. That is an amazing accomplishment, and from there you expand to wider areas geographically and for some magical reason birds become easier and easier to learn as you know more of them.
California Thrasher - to me the name has always been more Skate Punk than metal, but I know what you are saying.

Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 11:59 AM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Sharon Jue
 

Welcome Alia!

It sounds like you are on the right track, but just wanted to throw out a couple more references

In addition to the apps and websites mentioned by Alvaro Jaramillo and Alan Bade (in his Pine Siskins post), there are a couple of excellent books with accompanying websites:
Nathan Pieplow's "Peterson Field Guide to Western Bird Sounds" and earbirding.com
Donald Kroodsma's "Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist" and http://birdsongforthecurious.com/index.php

and of course no discussion of bird sound is complete without mention of xeno-canto.org

best wishes,
Sharon Jue
Berkeley


On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 12:06 PM Alia.S. <ealiasalim@...> wrote:
Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Dawn Lemoine
 

Welcome Alia!  Let me add one more:  Our SF birding friend Dan Brown has written a wonderful app that uses all of the North American recordings from xeno-canto.  It’s called “Birdgram US“, downloadable from your app store.  It takes a little practice, but I have found it quite valuable all spring.  

Happy Birding!
Dawn


On Jun 6, 2020, at 10:50 AM, Sharon Jue <sljue1@...> wrote:


Welcome Alia!

It sounds like you are on the right track, but just wanted to throw out a couple more references

In addition to the apps and websites mentioned by Alvaro Jaramillo and Alan Bade (in his Pine Siskins post), there are a couple of excellent books with accompanying websites:
Nathan Pieplow's "Peterson Field Guide to Western Bird Sounds" and earbirding.com
Donald Kroodsma's "Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist" and http://birdsongforthecurious.com/index.php

and of course no discussion of bird sound is complete without mention of xeno-canto.org

best wishes,
Sharon Jue
Berkeley


On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 12:06 PM Alia.S. <ealiasalim@...> wrote:
Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia



Joyce Rybandt
 

Hello,

A heads up. I was considering installing the Bird Genie app and followed the link from Alvaro. I recommend you read the reviews on the app before buying and installing. The reviews look to be recent. It seems to have some frustrating problems. On Android several people mentioned that the app fills the photo gallery with photos of birds, which is not good if you don't have lots of storage space.

Joyce Rybandt

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io [mailto:EBB-Sightings@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 12:46 PM
To: 'Alia.S.' <ealiasalim@...>; EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Alia
Regarding apps, one you may want to try is BirdGenie http://www.birdgenie.com/
It was created by Tom Stephenson a friend of mine, but admit that I have yet to use it as my brain wired to bird song before cell phones were even a viable idea. But the technology behind it is very cool, you record a song and it identifies the birds for you. If you can find articles by Tom regarding how to think about and visualize bird song, I would recommend doing that. He has developed a pretty consistent language to describe bird song.
Now, old school, here is what worked for me. When you hear something that you don't recognize, chase it down. Focus on the sound, and follow it until you can visually identify the bird. The connection your brain makes with the sound, the image, and the time you are focused and searching is like no other tool. You will miss a bunch, and that is ok. But as you learn you will find that you have to chase down fewer and fewer until you realize that you know ALL of the birds in your home patch. That is an amazing accomplishment, and from there you expand to wider areas geographically and for some magical reason birds become easier and easier to learn as you know more of them.
California Thrasher - to me the name has always been more Skate Punk than metal, but I know what you are saying.

Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 11:59 AM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Steve Taylor
 

It was free on Apple. But it’s hard to beat Marlin Bird ID

On Jun 6, 2020, at 12:39 PM, Joyce Rybandt <jrybandt@...> wrote:

Hello,

A heads up. I was considering installing the Bird Genie app and followed the link from Alvaro. I recommend you read the reviews on the app before buying and installing. The reviews look to be recent. It seems to have some frustrating problems. On Android several people mentioned that the app fills the photo gallery with photos of birds, which is not good if you don't have lots of storage space.

Joyce Rybandt


-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io [mailto:EBB-Sightings@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 12:46 PM
To: 'Alia.S.' <ealiasalim@...>; EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Alia
Regarding apps, one you may want to try is BirdGenie http://www.birdgenie.com/
It was created by Tom Stephenson a friend of mine, but admit that I have yet to use it as my brain wired to bird song before cell phones were even a viable idea. But the technology behind it is very cool, you record a song and it identifies the birds for you. If you can find articles by Tom regarding how to think about and visualize bird song, I would recommend doing that. He has developed a pretty consistent language to describe bird song.
Now, old school, here is what worked for me. When you hear something that you don't recognize, chase it down. Focus on the sound, and follow it until you can visually identify the bird. The connection your brain makes with the sound, the image, and the time you are focused and searching is like no other tool. You will miss a bunch, and that is ok. But as you learn you will find that you have to chase down fewer and fewer until you realize that you know ALL of the birds in your home patch. That is an amazing accomplishment, and from there you expand to wider areas geographically and for some magical reason birds become easier and easier to learn as you know more of them.
California Thrasher - to me the name has always been more Skate Punk than metal, but I know what you are saying.

Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 11:59 AM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia



Steven Hunter
 

Hi Alia,

You might like to try BirdNet as well, which is Cornell's entry in the bird sound ID app arena (Android only so far). I've found it to be pretty good so far. One caveat: you have to be online, since the analysis is done on their servers (they've built a neural network based on 2.5M recordings from their collection).

The birdsong course that they offer is among the best they have–well thought out with an excellent user experience. It will introduce how we visualize and describe birdsong, and help you practice focusing on one target species among others vocalizing at the same time. I see that it's on sale right now for $48.

Once things get back to normal and we can gather in classrooms again, you can't go wrong taking one of Denise Wight's classes, offered through both the Golden Gate and Mount Diablo Audubons. Be advised that they fill up almost immediately when the registration opens online, so you have to be ready sign up on the day.

I've found LarkWire to be an excellent resource as well. It keeps track of how you've done identifying different species, tailoring what it plays you accordingly. I will say that even if you pick the west coast bird pack, the birds might not sound exactly like the representatives you'd find around here; however, there's something to be said for just training your ear to listening to the differences between similarly sounding species.

Finally, as a free option, you could try the eBird quiz app. They offer it as a means to crowdsource review of their photo and sound collections. You pick a location and a date, and it gives you 20 items that you'd be likely to see/hear in that location at that time of year, to identify and then rate. As a beginner you might find it a bit steep at first, but you'd still be associating sounds with their species.

-Steve


On Friday, June 5, 2020, 12:06:32 PM PDT, Alia.S. <ealiasalim@...> wrote:


Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Alia.S.
 

Thanks, everyone, for all these great suggestions ⁠— I've got lots of apps to try and my fingers crossed that classes and field trips resume soon.

... also, Alvaro is right that a thrasher is more skate-punk than metal. Here, I fixed it: https://i.imgur.com/tNhyXqC.png . 😉


Alvaro Jaramillo
 

I would buy that tshirt 😊
I am glad that you have gotten a bunch of good info. I would suggest too that you look at eBird bar charts for your county, or hot spots near or at, where you go birding. Geography and time of year are key in understanding what is likely and not likely to be seen. Also it can eventually help you plan, to gear up for fall migration (which begins in July actually!!!) and study up on species that may be expected to start showing up.
Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Sunday, June 7, 2020 10:32 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Thanks, everyone, for all these great suggestions ⁠— I've got lots of apps to try and my fingers crossed that classes and field trips resume soon.

... also, Alvaro is right that a thrasher is more skate-punk than metal. Here, I fixed it: https://i.imgur.com/tNhyXqC.png . 😉


Ellen Sampson
 

Order a Tee for me, too!

On Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 9:27 AM Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...> wrote:
I would buy that tshirt 😊
   I am glad that you have gotten a bunch of good info. I would suggest too that you look at eBird bar charts for your county, or hot spots near or at, where you go birding. Geography and time of year are key in understanding what is likely and not likely to be seen. Also it can eventually help you plan, to gear up for fall migration (which begins in July actually!!!) and study up on species that may be expected to start showing up.
  Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Sunday, June 7, 2020 10:32 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Thanks, everyone, for all these great suggestions ⁠— I've got lots of apps to try and my fingers crossed that classes and field trips resume soon.

... also, Alvaro is right that a thrasher is more skate-punk than metal. Here, I fixed it: https://i.imgur.com/tNhyXqC.png . 😉