By Guest Blogger Lara Tseng
why a bird sang a particular verse was helpful in remembering songs and calls.
Many birders have told me that birding by ear greatly helps in identifying species that cannot be easily seen. In certain habitats, especially those with dense vegetation, the majority of bird species are counted by ear. I’ve always made an effort to try, but learning bird song doesn’t come easily for me. Before this workshop, the only way I learned bird sounds was when I saw a particular bird open its beak and sing. This is not a very good way to learn bird sounds—there are many sounds that are left a mystery and for the shyer birds, I might never learn about their sounds. In this workshop, I learned about how spectrograms could help me visually understand the song and “read” it. Now when I hear a bird, I imagine what the spectrogram of that sound might look like and connect those with spectrograms that I have learned during the workshop and on my own.
Thank you to the donors who contributed to the scholarship fund so that I could learn about the science of bird sound and bird sound ID. This workshop has peaked my interest in bird sound and showed me a way that I could learn easily. Now when I go out into the field, bird sounds are not a source of frustration anymore because I could never remember them, but instead a way to peek into the complex and fascinating lives that birds lead.
Lara is an avid teen birdwatcher who has loved birds since she was 3. She has a passion for combining technology and conservation and hopes to study biotechnology. She has volunteered for the Cavity Conservation Initiative, Tree Care for Birds and Other Wildlife, Sea & Sage Audubon, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and other environment-related organizations. She is a Western bluebird monitor and is currently doing a research project on eggshell consumption during the breeding season on these birds with the help of the Southern California Bluebird Club and has done past studies on eggshell consumption as well.
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