Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's All About The Ear

Where are you?  I can hear you.  But where are you?  Where are you?
Olive-throated Parakeet
Oh green!!!  How I love and hate you at the same time!!!!  I know you're out there!  
No one talks.  No one dare say a word.  The photographer is afoot!  He cannot be distracted.  Life bird on the loose!
I studied many calls which included the Melodious Blackbird.  And all it took was their call to make me drop what I was doing and run with my camera.  Birding by ear at its best.
Melodious Blackbird
There are some calls that I recorded inside my brain before the trip.  And it was interesting because I had forgotten that I had done it.
I had studied several calls of birds that would likely be seen during our trip and I found something interesting happen while staying at our places.  I'd hear the call and move without realizing why I was doing it.  I did this instinctively and didn't figure out why until I had my eye on the bird.  Then I'd smile and realize why I had run in the first place.
Clay-colored Thrush
And the calls would happen at crazy times.
Dusky-capped Flycatcher
The bird below was the one that made me act the craziest.  The Rufous-browed Peppershrike had called the previous day but I was in the shower.  When I ran out in my towel, I saw the bird looking back at me but camera!!!!  Of course, it flew off and wouldn't return until the next day.
Rufous-browed Peppershrike
This time when the bird called, I wouldn't be caught with my pants down again! Sorry...couldn't help it:)  The Peppershrike's call was so wired into my brain that I moved quickly like a firefighter responding to a fire.  If it wasn't for my ear on this trip, I'd have missed out on many of the birds that like to disappear into the vegetation.
And that's some of the fun challenge behind birding in a tropical area. I'm linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday because there are so many amazing birds out there! More coming soon.....


  1. the peppershrike is startling! awesome!

  2. I love your ears! They serve us both well when we are birding together!

  3. I suppose next it will be birding in a bathrobe. ;)
    I am so impressed with your ability to record in your head.

  4. Chris, you are leagues ahead of me. I can't remember what they look like never mind what they sound like.

  5. Birding by ear is the ultimate...
    I wish I could use my ears better, even practicing I have a hard time matching the call and the sight and the name :-)

  6. Good job Chris! You should insure those wonderful ears of yours:))

    Have a good week!

  7. Wonderful birds and photos. Sounds like your homework before the trip paid dividends :)

  8. Chris, I am reminded of the saying put your listening ears on. Wonderful bird sightings, I love the Parakeet and the Peppershrike. Great shots, happy birding!

  9. I love bird calls. I could lay in bed in the mornings and listen to them all day. Can't imagine what all of those sounded like. I got Osprey crazy this summer and spent a lot of time watching one of the Montana nest cameras and reading all I could find about them. I've always known about them living up in Idaho, but you's like people who live here have never seen the Grand Canyon. When you get away, you wish you'd paid more attention. I really love your blog.

  10. I envy you your faculties, Chris! I neither hear well, nor can I remember bird song unless I'm constantly subjected to it, or it's totally remarkable.

    Something is being done about the hearing - I'm getting a pair of hearing aids next Monday. However, my inability to remember birdsongs will never get better at my age!

    Another great post, and some fine images from you.

  11. Wonderful captures Chris...I wish I could use my ears better like you..have a nnice day..

  12. Great photos! I almost lost the parrot in the green.

  13. 'ear! 'ear !! Lucky you Chris. My husband is the same, he loves walking bush trails with a passion, whether they be in Africa where he grew up, the highlands of Scotland, the Yorkshire moors and now the Australian bush, and often he'll say to me 'listen can you hear the ...!'Usually I can't until he points it out :)Happy birding!

  14. A very interesting post - I think I need to learn more bird calls! But then again - maybe not during summer time - shorebirds are pretty quiet when they are roosting!

  15. Great post on listening!
    You found some unique and beautiful birds.
    Thank you for sharing them!
    Love the plumage of the Peppershrike!

  16. I loved the flycatcher and the peppershrike ... great post Chris

  17. Hi Chris I thought I had left a comment on ths post. Can yuo chaeck your spam please. Anyway great shots adn I nearly didn't see the green parrot. Your ears are brilliant.

  18. Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  19. I very rarely recognize the voice of the bird, which is why I admire you. It is not easy and certainly not always sure you are successful. Yours.


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