Bird sounds

youreitMay 17, 2008

Ok, we've searched EVERYwhere for this bird, and we can't seem to find it! Maybe someone can help us with my description only.

For 2 days in a row, he was WAY up in the tree singing his song. DH says he looks similar to a northern mockingbird (long tail, basically grey and white overall, about robin-sized as far as height), but a) we haven't heard any other calls from him as mockingbirds tend to do...and we've heard them in the recent past, and b) if by some chance it IS a mocker, what the heck could he be imitating?!

The song starts out slow, no rise or fall, one syllable that sounds like "teet", then speeds up. Like, "teet...teet...teet teet teet-teet-teet-teet, etc." Over and over. The only thing similar we could find was the song of the vermilion flycather, but it's far too high-pitched.

Sure hope you all have some suggestions for us! Would love to ID this "new" bird.


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catherinet(5 IN)

How about a yellow or black-billed cuckoo? They sound sort of tropical to me.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 1:20PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi again. I forgot you were on the other side of the continent. I don't even know if cuckoos are over in your direction. They give out a clucking sound that speeds up and slows down. I usually can ID the yellow-billed by its tail spots on the underside, and its yellow bill. I've seen both the yellow-billed and black-billed around here. They're not real obvious and I usually just hear them. I found one on my front porch that hit the window, and got a good luck at him! Luckily, he flew off.
Just going on your description of his size a color.....a shrike??

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 1:31PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Oh, a mystery bird! I love those .... unfortunately I can't help much with your western birds. I hope you figure it out!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 11:50PM
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Catherine, thanks so much for trying! At first, I thought, Cuckoo?! No WAY! Then I looked at a pic of one, and the black-billed does fit the description. Unfortunately, the odds are we don't have them here - MAYbe the yellow-billed, but hubby said the bill was dark. AND the songs just don't match. :(

The shrike sounded great, until I heard a clip of its song. I really think it must just be a mocker, but I can't personally get a good look at it. I get the dizzy thing when I tilt my head back too far (BPPV), so I've had to trust DH on the description. LOL

I was out in the yard when I heard it yesterday! It was making another, different sound for a while above our yard, then I heard the "teet" sound further down the street a few minutes later. From what I could tell while having a quick look-see, it had the coloring and was the size of a mocker. However, I haven't heard the "typical" mocker sounds around here like we usually do if one is hanging around - you know, sounding like a car alarm? LOL

We're going to figure this out if it kills me. :D

Oh, one exciting bit of news is that the American kestrels are back and screaming their heads off out there! Woohoo! *happy dance*


    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 9:55AM
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Oh Brenda how exciting to have a new bird but lordy im sorry your having such a problem identifying it. Maybe you could hug a tree while you try to look so you don't get to wobbly. So it really only makes the one main sound and just over and over and faster. Hum.....I just don't know. The sound you describe makes me think of a flycatcher but THEY are to hard for me to identify and to many of them. Could it be a kingbird or a twisted catbird? LOL...I have heard a new bird too but cant see it. I know exactly what it is tho because its song is well known and beautiful. A sweet wood thrush! I have never heard one in this town before but i have never lived with lots of woods either :-) LOL.........Try to get hubby to get a picture of your little tweet tweet tweet. Then you can see it too without spinning. Shrikes do look like mockers thats for sure. Hope you can figure it out so we can celebrate together.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 11:47AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Oh how I hate it when I'm not right! lol!
Have you tried posting your question on the birding forum?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 6:14PM
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How about a Bell's Vireo or Least Bell's Vireo? They look similar to a Mockingbird and the sound is not musical but repetitious.

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo and Sound of Bell's Vireo

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 7:01PM
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I haven't tried that yet, Catherine, mainly because I love all of the help I get here. :D Also, if I could only SEE the thing clearly, I'd probably have a better chance of getting someone to ID it for me, whether in this forum, in the birding forum...or HERE, in my own book. *sigh*

I don't think it's one of those, least, the songs don't sound right. Dang it.

The other sound I mentioned above, which I THINK was being made by the same bird...and which I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it sounded like...drew me to look at the big cottonwood behind our house yesterday.

I was panning around with the binoculars when I noticed SOMEthing in the big, hollow hole smack dab in the middle of that tree. It was the HUGE fuzzy head of a baby barn owl!!! Staring right back at me!! Ohhh, that was the BEST birding experience of my life! He kept playing peekaboo with me all morning. I can't wait to go back out and see him again today! (It wasn't the one responsible for the sound, though, of course...LOL)

Life is SO good! Only wish the camera could zoom in that far for a clear pic!


    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 8:49AM
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I heard the mystery bird again yesterday, but at the same time, one of the American kestrels was screaming at a dive-bombing blackbird, the jays were screeching at anyone willing to listen, the baby owl was playing the stare game with me, Jeremiah the bullfrog was crawling through the watercress in the creek, and Barry's cousin was serenading me. HOW can a girl be expected to concentrate?!

The mystery bird never did come close enough for an ID, but I did manage to christen the little owl - Marvin. There's just something so Marvey about him (her?)!

I'll keep trying, and thanks for playing along, everyone! :D


    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 8:22AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

How cool about the baby owl!! this mystery bird.......its call.......its just mono-tonal, and starts out slow and gets faster? Is it really fast at the end? How long does it take to get faster? Is it a strong, loud sound, or a little meek one?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 2:10PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

You've really got me wondering about this bird. I listened to my CD on the way to work but then I just get confused!

A baby barn owl!!!!!!!!!! Wow, would I love to see that! Too cool!!!!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:27PM
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So...yesterday, I heard THE mockingbird! The way he changes sounds so quickly, I'm not really thinking he's the mystery bird now. Especially since the mystery bird makes his one sound over and over.

Catherine, it's a monotone, for sure. It's usually 2 "teets", separated by a pause, then many "teets" in a row before pausing and starting over. It appears to be speeding up, but now my memory is fading. It's been so long since I've heard it as close to the house as it was the first 2 days. It's a strong sound, not very high pitched, just solid. I have absolutely nothing to compare it to, so I'm sorry for the vague descriptions! As I mentioned earlier, the tempo of the song of the vermilion flycatcher is VERY similar, albeit it's MUCH more high-pitched than the mystery bird's. (I just listened to the song on the Cornell site, and it sounds nothing like the vermilion song in my book - "The repeated territorial song of the male Vermilion Flycatcher!" Ack!)

DH did say the bird was a tad smaller than our scrub jays. He said the tail appeared black on the top with "some white underneath"....although trying to view anything against the harsh glare of the sky is NOT very accurate. LOL

Thanks for continuing to try, ladies!! The wind is here until Friday, so I may not get another chance to see it until then. :(


    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 8:56AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Okay, here's a few more questions:
What time of day was it?
What kind of tree was it in?
How high up in the tree was it?
I think I should probably quit trying since I know absolutely nothing about west coast birds! :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 9:41AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Do you have baby owl pics? OMG! I bet he's sooooo cute, Brenda! I'll trade you the Camp Nappy stuff for an owl snuggle!

Mmmmmmmm. Baby owl lips! :-)

Dunno about your mystery bird. I couldda sworn there was a Goldfinch serenading me two summers ago. How sweet! I looked for the little thing in the magnolia and see a Catbird doing a fine rendition of a Goldfinch song! Hmmmm! Still he covered it very nicely!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 9:11PM
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Catherine, it's definitely in the morning, about....7am, maybe a tad later.

We saw it in one of these HUGE trees we have in the neighborhood, but I still have NO idea what kind of tree it is after all these years. I've also heard it down the road at one of the neighbor's.

DH reports that the bird was approx. 75 feet up when he tried to ID it.

Something else that comes to mind....DH said that each time the bird made the "teet" sound, its tail would "flick" up (or maybe down....Argh!). Most birds I've seen do that, though. LOL

Thanks for trying! I can't WAIT for this wind to stop, so I can keep trying, too. Not sure about the catbird, Chicka, only because of the coloring. DH reported it had gray and white coloring...but again, the glare was fairly strong from the sky behind it.

The wind is coming from the NW, so it's blowing right into the barn owl's hollow nest area! I haven't attempted to get a picture yet, because it really looks too far away, but I'll definitely try when this wind stops...hopefully some time tomorrow. *sigh*

The baby barn owl was swaying back and forth, and gazing upward, the other morning!! Then, he would stop and look at me. It was such a strange thing to witness....almost human-like! *goosebumps*


    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 9:09AM
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I have a friend that has a pair of binoculars that take pictures. He said he got them from some sporting goods store. Said they weren't too expensive. I haven't had a chance to check on them though. Glenda

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 1:48PM
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Those would be great, Glenda! I'll have to check into those.

The wind finally calmed down, but not before a HUGE tree limb cracked at 4:30am today. Talk about scary, hearing that snapping/cracking/groaning while it's still dark outside!!! Bonnie, you should have seen me (AND the kitty!!) run like the wind toward the back of the house!!! LOL It's still dangling by a small piece, and when it comes down, it's going to hurt a lot of plants...and possibly other stuff, like our outdoor table and chairs. It looks like the pond is safe, though.

DH was awesome and laid the phone line on the ground so the limb won't take it out when it comes down. He also tied off the limb so, hopefully, it won't take out the power. There's no way I can go out in the front yard, though, until it drops. DH tried pulling it down this afternoon, but it's not budging. Landlord has been notified, but he hasn't bothered to even call us back yet. *growl* bird sounds for ME today. I don't think my heart has slowed down since...


    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 7:03PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

You might not even have these birds over in your neck of the woods.......but the birds around here who seem to flick their tails alot are the redstart (female is more gray and white with yellow,) and the blue-grey gnatcatcher.
But you're right.....lots of birds do that.
Warblers seem to like the tops of trees alot. I'm not familiar with all their different songs.
Maybe it was an ivory-billed woodpecker? :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 7:42PM
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BRENDA RUN from the scary trees!!!!!!!! LOL... I bet you were shaking so hard your teeth were rattling! You poor dear. I KNOW that cracking sound very well. Im sorry it may hurt your plants and other stuff :-( I was standing in the kitchen the other day and a huge limb fell on my bird feeding pole. Only about 20 feet away. I was watching the birds eat at the time and they were all squawking and flying for their lives. It scared the crap out of ALL of us! LOL...Even the dogs started barking from the huge thud it made. Maybe your limb will "gently tumble" to the ground and not touch one little leaf on your plants. Fingers crossed for you! Hope all that big wind didnt blow your poor mystery bird to China or some where! We have to know what it is before it leaves. Baby fuzzy wuzzy owl sounds totally awesome! IM so excited for you. Hope the wind doesn't blow him/her out too :-( Be careful and don't open any umbrellas. You might blow off like Mary Poppins!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 3:49PM
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I ran like the wind, Bonnie! And my little cat, too! LOL She was all hunkered down close to the ground, speed walking, ears back...LOL Poor kitty! I'm so glad to hear your most recent limb didn't break anything!

I haven't heard the mystery bird since before the wind started. The baby owl was raising a ruckus this morning before dawn. Marvin sounds hungry. LOL

No umbrellas....especially since that limb is STILL dangling. I miss my yard...


    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 9:49AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hey Brenda,
I'm still thinking about what bird that could be!
I've had a bird here for a few weeks that sounds like the description you gave, and I found out it was a field sparrow. I don't know if you have those in CA, but here's a link to listen to. let me know what you think.

Here is a link that might be useful: field sparrow song

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 6:09PM
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