Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sound Clips

One problem with the photographic big year is that many species look very similar and may not be identifiable by photo or range alone. Many times, hearing the bird is very helpful for field identifications. On 1/29/2013, while birding Lucky Hammock in Florida, we heard, and then saw, the Brown-crested Flycatcher that has been around most of the winter. While I took a reasonable photograph, Great-crested Flycatchers have been reported from the area as well. Instead of relying on some subtle field marks seen in the photo below, I have uploaded a sound file of the classic "whip" call of the Brown-crested Flycatcher that was calling while I photographed it. Turn your sound wayyyyyyy up, the file is quiet.

Brown-crested Flycatcher

I also photographed a Least Flycatcher at Paynes Prairie Preserve in Gainesville. Empidonax are notoriously tough identifications without a call or song. Luckily, this bird was giving the "pit" call typical of Least Flycatcher, and the accompanying field marks add up. Any other empid would be very rare here.

Least Flycatcher

I hope this works, as I plan to use this technique to nail down other tricky field identifications such as Fish Crow and other empidonax flycatchers, among others.

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