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Narrative Challenge 2


Mike Hall
 

(2) Sunday before last, October 11, 8 a.m., Mitchell Canyon Road (GPS 37.91724, -121.94580), Mt. Diablo State Park, CA: loud, repeated 2-note “wolf whistle” from overhead. It had the right pitch, character, and loudness to be an Olive-sided Flycatcher, but it was consistently two notes only, not the familiar “Quick, three beers!” More important, the first note was higher in pitch than the second, unlike the first two of an OSFL. It went “What year!” with the first note slightly up-slurred and quickly cut off, the second beginning somewhat lower in pitch, slightly down-slurred, and longer-lasting. Did I mention loud? He must have repeated it twenty times and I never had the wit to haul out my phone and try for a recording. (Of course, I had my binocs on other birds the whole time.)


David Yeamans
 

The red crossbill and the OSFL have a very similar two-note call. The crossbills have been dispossessed of much habitat and might settle for any pine tree in a storm.


 

One good rule for any heard only birds:Never discount the Starling.

On Oct 22, 2020, at 10:10, David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@gmail.com> wrote:

storm.

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Sharon Jue
 

This spring I recorded an Olive-sided Flycatcher giving a 4-syllable song
so I did some reading, and Cornell's 'Birds of the World' had this to say:
"Song.Figure 3A. The Olive-sided Flycatcher's song is its most characteristic feature. A distinctively loud and penetrating 3-note whistle popularly translated as quick, THREE BEERS! (Peterson 1980). First note is shorter, softer, and lower in pitch than the other 2, which are strongly accented and drawn out. From a distance, often only last 2 notes are heard. Third note is often slurred, more drawn out, and fading downward. Numerous other mnemonic renditions have been described, including come right here (Godfrey 1986); look, three deer (Terres 1987); it's me here (Bent 1942b); whut-whee! tew (Jewett et al. 1953); or a spirited, whistled I say there (Peterson 1990d).
Variations of primary song usually include different intensities, emphases, or aberrations. For example, instead of second note (THREE) going up and being held longer, it goes down and is not held. Song occasionally shortened on either end-e.g., quick THREE-ER or FREE BEER . Occasionally adds another syllable (ka-beers), or adds another introductory note (quickquickWright 1997a). Context of variations unstudied, but Wright (Wright 1997a) noted that males singing aberrant songs were unpaired."

 This seems odd for a bird whose song is usually said to be innate, but apparently variations happen.

edit to add, Dominik's point about Starlings is well-taken. I was going nuts trying to figure out which tree-perching bird sounds exactly like a Sora until I caught one in the act.

-Sharon Jue, Berkeley

On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 1:22 AM Mike Hall <h3m@...> wrote:
(2)  Sunday before last, October 11, 8 a.m., Mitchell Canyon Road (GPS 37.91724, -121.94580), Mt. Diablo State Park, CA:  loud, repeated 2-note “wolf whistle” from overhead.  It had the right pitch, character, and loudness to be an Olive-sided Flycatcher, but it was consistently two notes only, not the familiar “Quick, three beers!”  More important, the first note was higher in pitch than the second, unlike the first two of an OSFL.  It went “What year!” with the first note slightly up-slurred and quickly cut off, the second beginning somewhat lower in pitch, slightly down-slurred, and longer-lasting.  Did I mention loud?  He must have repeated it twenty times and I never had the wit to haul out my phone and try for a recording.  (Of course, I had my binocs on other birds the whole time.)




judisierra
 


or the lesser goldfinch.
https://archive.westernfieldornithologists.org/archive/V13/13(1-4)%20p0029-p0033.pdf

On Thursday, October 22, 2020, 10:19:29 AM PDT, Dominik Mosur <dominikmosur@...> wrote:


One good rule for any heard only birds:Never discount the Starling.

> On Oct 22, 2020, at 10:10, David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...> wrote:
>
> storm.
>
>


Ethan Monk
 

Since you brought up goldfinch, yesterday on Holland Tract I had both a Mockingbird and a Lesser Goldfinch imitating a Magpie. I've never heard a goldfinch imitate a corvid before--pretty cool. Also notable because Contra Costa's last magpie populations winked out about 5 years ago.... worth a check if you're out there.