Bird Sounds: Dance to Your Own Music

Long after the mule deer curl up on their meadow mattresses, snipe dance with a courage that only the darkness can give.

From a damp stage, they dance by the romance of the moonlight and a trillion twinkling stars. The croaks of frogs act like the beats of a drum for the ethereal sound tracing their progress upward into the still mountain air.

The male snipe goes to great heights to impress a lucky spectator down below. An otherworldly whewhewhewhew emits from its slicing feathers as the snipe spirals skyward.

Spring Birdsong

red-winged blackbird singing
Red-winged blackbirds are among the most vociferous territorial defenders.

Spring bird sounds are always more than just sounds. They’re territorial warnings, pleas for food, or thousand-year-old courtship rituals.

This spring you can also listen for pods of dolphins, swirling in the depths of the deep blue sky above your head.

Swallows of all abodes—barn, tree, cliff, bank—playfully click, whistle, and chatter, mimicking oceanic orchestras as they swim through the sky.

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How to find 10 Warblers this Spring

Tips to find the most popular and colorful birds in the Northeast

They’re tiny.

They’re colorful.

They’re loud.

They’re often foraging high in the leafiest canopies, making them impossible to see even while bending over backwards.

See below, the Blackburnian Warbler with bright orange throat, notorious for foraging way high up.

Despite the challenges of watching warblers, or perhaps because of them, these birds are among the most anticipated of all the spring arrivals to the northeast.

But how do you find them?!

8 Tips to find 10 Warblers

Tip #1: look in the canopy. Many warblers like to flit and fly in the treetops, so keep your eyes and ears pointed skyward. (Disclaimer: talk to your chiropractor before taking my advice.)

Tip #2: warblers are songbirds. Males bellow a unique tune to mark their territory during breeding season. Learn the codes and you can unlock the secret to finding new and different species of warbler.

What is the best way to find a fire-throated angel, that Blackburnian warbler? Learn its song or play the recording in your ear to jog your memory when you’re in the field. If you hear one in the treetops, sometimes you can follow its foraging through the branches for a better look (but don’t hold your breath).

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BirdMaster: A New Game!

I designed a new game in which you’re an intrepid birder left with only a brief flash of feathers for your identification. Can you guess the correct bird?

As you progress through the levels, hints dwindle (or disappear altogether). Once you complete the Backyard BirdMaster you can move onto BirdMaster: Field Expert.

Backyard BirdMaster is a game suitable for young children. The expert BirdMaster is hard—even for experienced birders.

I encourage you to grab a bird guide if you get stuck. Be sure to take some time to appreciate the wonderful variety of colors and patterns, and most of all, have fun.

BirdMaster Quiz Contest: Win a Free Print

You could win! To be eligible for a free Austin Schuver 8×10 print or screensaver of your choosing, simply complete a BirdMaster quiz and send me your email address. Any score qualifies! I will choose a winner on April 15th.

Thanks to Sidney Anderson for reviewing the first drafts of these quizzes and suggesting the name!