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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Here's another resident of Rithet's Bog, the aptly named Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia). This little bird was singing like he was going to burst and he was a delight to hear. It's not just random chirping - read what Wikipedia has to say about the songs of Song Sparrows:

The song sparrow's song consists of a combination of repeated notes, quickly passing isolated notes, and trills. The songs are very crisp, clear, and precise, making them easily distinguishable by human ears. A particular song is determined not only by pitch and rhythm but also by the timbre of the trills. Although one bird will know many songs - as many as 20 different tunes with as many as 1,000 improvised variations on the basic theme. Unlike thrushes, the song sparrow usually repeats the same song many times before switching to a different song.

Song sparrows typically learn their songs from a handful of other birds that have neighboring territories. They are most likely to learn songs that are shared in common between these neighbors. Ultimately, they will choose a territory close to or replacing the birds that they have learned from. This allows the song sparrows to address their neighbors with songs shared in common with those neighbors. It has been demonstrated that song sparrows are able to distinguish neighbors from strangers on the basis of song, and also that females are able to distinguish (and prefer) their mate's songs from those of other neighboring birds, and they prefer songs of neighboring birds to those of strangers.
(Click here to hear a sample song, repeated 5 times in a minute.)


Dean Lewis said...

Excellent shot !
And love the sound-clip.
I've always admired the birders who are able to identify specific birds from their song alone.
At Highrock park the other day I was really impressed by the 'symphony' happening.

Canarybird said...

Oh that's an interesting post and lovely photo. You really have captured some excellent bird photos Benjamin. And thank you for the sound clip. After reading your post, I would have gone looking on the internet for one as I was curious to hear the sound.

Sharon said...

Such a beautiful shot!

JoJo said...

Great shot! Except now I have the Baretta theme song stuck in my head "keep your eye on the sparrow". lol

Priyanka Khot said...

Wonderful post. Loved the audio of the sparrow's song. The sparrows have vanished from Delhi. Spotting them in the city has become next to impossible.