Monday, 21 April 2014

Who's next in the Dawn Chorus

Apparently the next most common bird call after the blackbird, robin and wren is the tawny owl.  I don't think we are likely to hear one of those at Filnore on 27th April but we may hear a pheasant shouting and we shall certainly hear chaffinches.

The Collins Bird Guide, the one with the black cover, describes the chaffinch song like this:
"highly characteristic, rather constant in delivery and tirelessly repeated, a bright, loud, almost rattling verse introduced by 3-4 rapidly repeated sharp notes which turn into a similar series of lower notes, the whole terminating in a lively flourish, zitt-zitt-zitt-zitt-sett-sett-sett-chatt-chitteriidia."
I think of it as tumbling downstairs and jumping up at the end, and Rob says its a bit like a cricketer coming up to bowl and finally delivering the ball.
As well as songs, which can be to attract a mate or to establish a territory, birds have contact calls, alarm calls and other chirps and squeaks.  The chaffinch has a very distinctive "pink pink" call which is the colour of the cock bird's breast, so highly appropriate and easy to remember.
The next singer is the song thrush.  Now this species has been in decline for some years but I have heard more than one singing while I have been working in the coppice coupe, so Filnore must be providing a good habitat.
This is another one with a distinctive voice.  Although the parts of the song are very varied, the song thrush sings each part three or more times as if it is practicing for a concert.

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