What is that Sound?

American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) singing by J Fenton

American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) singing by J Fenton

“LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” (Psalms 10:17 KJV)

I am still in the process of fixing broken links, missing bird photos, etc. I am actually enjoying digging around in the older post. Had forgotten all about this series, and thought you might enjoy a challenge to your birdwatching.

In May of 2007, Start Birdwatching Today: What is that Sound? was published. Thought you might enjoy re-visiting this page. [After fixing a broken link on it.]

Birds are very vocal at times and they give us a great clue as to what bird it is. Eventually, as you become better in your birdwatching adventures, it will help to learn some of their sounds and noises.

As you are observing birds that are singing or calling, you can learn to associate that sound to that bird. That is the beginning and it is almost automatic. When you hear a bird, but do not see it, then you will either recall one you have seen and be able to ID it, or you can start studying the sounds so the next time you can know what the unseen bird is.

There are several methods that birders use. Audio CDs and computer programs have Bird sounds along with photos of the bird to assist your learning.

The Internet has places like the WhatBird, All About Birds, Birding by Ear Basics,

Here is an interesting video about blind people birding by ear. Very interesting.

Here are some of the birds you may already know. These are local birds here, but also seen around other parts of the country. Also a very nice verse to remember while “birding by sound.” I used this verse when taking my General Amateur License test that was all Morse Code. It helped calm my heart even though it refers to the Lord hearing us, but it helped me to hear those dots and dashes. (Only 8 of 115 of us passed the test that day.)

LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: (Psalms 10:17 KJV)

All of these sounds are coming from the Xeno-canto.org website.

Blue Jay in tree at Hampton Pines

Blue Jay in tree at Hampton Pines

Blue Jay

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) by Daves BirdingPix

Northern Cardinal

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) at Lake Howard, Winter Haven, Florida By Dan’sPix

Boat-tailed Grackle

Red-winged Blackbird at Bok Sanctuary

Red-winged Blackbird at Bok Sanctuary

Red-winged Blackbird

Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) by BirdsInFocus

Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) by BirdsInFocus

Eastern Whip-poor-will

Great Horned Owl – Lowry Pk Zoo by Lee

Great Horned Owl

How many did you all ready know?
Some like to put words to their sounds like these from Birding By Ear — Bird Song Identification
Listen here to a few bird songs and calls that have good mnemonic phrases:
Eastern Towhee — “Drink your tea-ea-ea”

Whip-poor-will — The name says it all.

Black-capped chickadee — Some music and talk first, then the “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee”

White-throated sparrow — “Poor Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody

Black-throated green warbler — “Zee zee zee zoo zee”

Barred Owl — “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all

All About Birds
Birding by Ear Basics

Start Birdwatching Today Series


Avian and Attributes – Shepherd

Mute Swan

Mute Swan with Young

“A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalms 23:1 KJV)

“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” (Matthew 26:31 KJV)

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” (John 10:14 KJV)

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” (Hebrews 13:20 KJV)

Avian and Attributes – Shepherd


1. A man employed in tending, feeding and guarding sheep in the pasture.
2. A swain; a rural lover.
3. The pastor of a parish, church or congregation; a minister of the gospel who superintends a church or parish, and gives (gived) instruction in spiritual things. God and Christ are in Scripture denominated (dinominated) Shepherds, as they lead, protect and govern their people, and provide for their welfare. (edited)

Mute Swan by Lee at Lake Morton

Mute Swan

The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is a species of swan and a member of the waterfowl family Anatidae. It is native to much of Eurasia, and (as a rare winter visitor) the far north of Africa. It is an introduced species in North America, Australasia, and southern Africa. The name ‘mute’ derives from it being less vocal than other swan species.[2][3][4] Measuring 125 to 170 cm (49 to 67 in) in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange beak bordered with black. It is recognizable by its pronounced knob atop the beak, which is larger in males.

The mute swan is less vocal than the noisy whooper and Bewick’s swans; they do, however, make a variety of grunting, hoarse whistling, and snorting noises, especially in communicating with their cygnets, and usually hiss at competitors or intruders trying to enter their territory.

(Anatidae – Ducks, Swan – Family)

More Avian and Attributes

Birds whose last name start with “S”

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Anatidae – Wikipedia

Good News

[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies II

Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) by Nikhil Devasar

Grey Francolin (Francolinus pondicerianus) by Nikhil Devasar

“Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.” (1 Samuel 26:20 KJV)

Last week the introduction to the avian wonders of the Phasianidae – Pheasants and Allies Family I began. The first twenty-one (21) species were presented. With a 183 in this family, we will stay with this family for a few Sundays.

Today there are 2 Monal-Partridge (Tetraophasis) , 5 Snowcock (Tetraogallus), 10 Partridges in 3 genera (Lerwa) (Alectoris) and (Ammoperdix), and 17 Francolin in 4 genera (Francolinus), (Peliperdix), (Scleroptila) and (Dendroperdix). The Pternistis genus will be covered next time. It consistes of Francolins and Spurfowls.

Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge (Tetraophasis obscurus) ©gbwf.org

(Tetraophasis obscurus) is a species of bird in the Phasianidae family. It is found only in central China. Its natural habitat is boreal forests. The common name commemorates the French naturalist Jules Verreaux. The Szechenyi’s Monal-Partridge or buff-throated partridge (Tetraophasis szechenyii) is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. It is found in China and India. Its natural habitat is boreal forests.

Tibetan Snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus) ©WikiC

Tibetan Snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus) ©WikiC

The Snowcocks are a group of bird species in the genus Tetraogallus of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. They are ground-nesting birds that breed in the mountain ranges of southern Eurasia from the Caucasus to the Himalayas and western China. Some of the species have been introduced into the United States. Snowcocks feed mainly on plant material. Snowcocks are bulky, long-necked, long-bodied partridge-like birds. Males and females are generally similar in appearance but females tend to be slightly smaller and rather duller in colouration than males. Their plumage is thick with a downy base to the feathers which helps them to withstand severe winter temperatures that may fall to −40 °C (−40 °F).

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Pixabay

Rock Partridge (Alectoris graeca) ©Pixabay

The genus Alectoris is a well-defined group of partridge species allied with coturnix and snowcocks and also related to partridge-francolins (Pternistes) and junglebush quail (Perdicula ). They are known collectively as rock partridges. The genus name is from Ancient Greek alektoris a farmyard chicken.

GAL-Phas Sand Partridge (Ammoperdix heyi) ©WikiC

Sand Partridge (Ammoperdix heyi) ©WikiC

The See-see partridge occurs in southwest Asia, and the Sand partridge in Egypt and the Middle East. Both are resident breeders in dry, open country, often in hill areas. Both partridges in this genus are 22–25 cm long, rotund birds. They are mainly sandy brown, with wavy white and brown stripes on their flanks.

Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus) by Nikhil Devasar

Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus) by Nikhil Devasar

Francolinus is a genus of birds in the francolin group of the partridge subfamily of the pheasant family. Its five species range from western and central Asia through to southern and south-eastern Asia.

Coqui Francolin(Peliperdix coqui) by Dave's BirdingPix

Coqui Francolin(Peliperdix coqui) by Dave’s BirdingPix

Peliperdix – Its four species range through tropical Sub-Saharan Africa.

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi) ©WikiC

Shelley’s Francolin (Scleroptila shelleyi) ©WikiC

Scleroptila – Its seven species range through Sub-Saharan Africa.

Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) ©WikiC

Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) ©WikiC

The Crested Francolin (Dendroperdix sephaena) – It is found in Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

(Wikipedia, with editing)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11 KJV)

“In the Garden” ~ Flute Solo Lauren D – Orchestra Concert


Sunday Inspirations

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Birds of the Bible – Partridge

Sharing The Gospel

My Western Greater Roadrunners

Roadrunner in Ft Stockton TX by Lee

Roadrunner in Ft Stockton TX by Lee

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind, (Lev 11:16)

While on our vacation to the West (USA) I wanted to see the Greater Runner. It was one of the top birds on my “to see” list. Disappointed by not finding one in the wild, we were not totally disappointed. Surprised, but not disappointed. I actually saw some years ago, but wanted to photograph a wild one.

When we stopped in Fort Stockton, Texas, we visited the original Camp Stockton and then went to see the “22 foot” Roadrunner. No kidding, it is 22 feet long and 11 feet tall. Of course it was not a live roadrunner. I have since learned that his name is “Paisano Pete.”

(Bonus) Apparently Fort Stockton likes “big birds” because we found a large chicken also.

Large Chicken in Ft Stockton TX by Lee

Large Chicken in Ft Stockton TX by Lee

An actual “roadrunner, also known as a chaparral bird and a chaparral cock, is a fast-running ground cuckoo that has a long tail and a crest. It is found in the southwestern United States and Mexico, usually in the desert. Some have been clocked at 20 miles per hour (32 km/h).”

“The subfamily Neomorphinae, the New World ground cuckoos, includes eleven species of birds, while the genus Geococcyx has just two, the greater roadrunner and the lesser roadrunner. The Greater Roadrunner, (Geococcyx californianus), inhabits Mexico and the southwestern United States. The Lesser Roadrunner, (Geococcyx velox), inhabits Mexico and Central America.” (Wikipedia)

Well, “Paisano Pete” definitely would not count as a real bird, so I had to keep looking. We saw some in a Zoo or two, but when we got to the Living Desert Zoo in California, we were able to really see two of them. They were in an aviary where we saw them up close and not through a cage wire. These are the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus). One was warming itself by exposing its feathers on the back and the other was trying to kill a dead mouse and chase a Turkey Vulture around. Got within two feet of one of them.

Roadrunner Warming up at Living Desert Zoo CA

Roadrunner Warming up at Living Desert Zoo CA


Roadrunner with mouse at Living Desert Zoo CA by Lee

Roadrunner with mouse at Living Desert Zoo CA by Lee



Fort Stockton, Texas: Paisano Pete: Giant Roadrunner

Paisano Pete

Living Desert Zoo and Garden

Fort Stockton, Texas – Wikipedia

Greater Roadrunner – Wikipedia

Birds of the Bible – Cuckoo

Cuckoos – Cuculidae Family


Birds of the Bible – Not Seeing Or Hearing

While reading in Isaiah lately, I came across this verse:

“Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear.” (Isaiah 42:20 NKJV)

When Dan and I visit aviaries, we spend quite a bit of time in them. Yes, we are birdwatchers and do photography, but it still amazes me the ones who come in, look around as they walk through, and then leave. They may be in there five minutes. We are there for 30, 45, 60 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the aviary.

Me and my big mouth causes me to speak up and point out birds they just walked by and never saw. Most times it is appreciated, but there are times when the kids (especially) only want to see the “big” animals. Well, a 6 foot Sarus Crane is “big.”

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Lee at Wings of Asia

Also, some people don’t even hear the birds chirping and singing. Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in what we are thinking or doing, we forget to look, see, and hear what the Lord has created for us to enjoy. I am so glad for creationist scientist and organizations which study birds and animals. They see so many marvelous things in the way the Lord made the animals and birds, Even fish, other critters and especially the human body.

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) by Nikhil Devasar

Pacific Golden Plover by Nikhil Devasar Flies to Hawaii from Alaska without the help of its parents.

Back to the verse, Isaiah 42:20. I like this from John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:

Isaiah 42:20
Seeing many things, but thou observest not,…. The Scribes and Pharisees, saw Christ in the flesh; they saw the miracles he did; they saw the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead raised; yet they did not give note to these things, and keep them in their minds, and regard them as clear proofs of his being the Messiah:

opening the ears, but he heareth not; they heard John Baptist preach, the forerunner of Christ, and the testimony he bore of him; they heard Christ himself and his apostles; they sometimes opened their ears, and seemed to listen and hear with attention, and wonder at what they heard; and some would own, that never man spake like Jesus; and yet understood not his speech, and hardened their hearts against him; they saw many things with their bodily eyes, but perceived them not with the eyes of their understandings; they heard with their ears, but understood not in their hearts; for their eyes were shut and their ears heavy, Isa_6:9.

May we, that know the Lord as our Savior, keep our eyes and ears open to God’s Word. May we see His creation and realize, what was spoken in Isaiah 46:9-10:

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:9-10 KJV)

God created it all and He has prophesied things that would transpire, which many have already come true, like the prophesies of the Lord Jesus Christ coming and dying as our Savior. Plus many, many more fulfilled prophecies.

Are we seeing and hearing?


Birds of the Bible

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Sarus Crane

Pacific Golden

Incredible Pacific Golden Plover

Gospel Message


Bird of the Week – Bonelli’s Eagle

Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian

This is the last in this series of raptor photos from the Pyrenees: Bonelli’s Eagle taken at another feeding station managed by Birding in Spain. Like last week’s Northern Goshawk feral pigeons from a local council culling programme are used to attract the eagles. It’s brown and white plumage reminded me rather of the similarly sized Osprey particular that of the male, first photo, which is paler than the female. In size it has a length of up to 73cm/28in, a wingspan to 180cm/71in and weights up to 2.4kg/5.3lbs. That makes it much smaller than most of the other Aquila eagles, such as the Golden and Wedge-tailed but larger than the Little Eagle of Australia.

View From The Hide in Spain by Ian

View From The Hide in Spain by Ian

There the resemblance to ospreys ends, as Bonelli’s Eagle is found in hilly or mountainous country in warm regions and eats mammals and birds – in Spain it eats mainly rabbits and partridges. The second photo shows the view from the hide. The stone wall on the left is where the food is tied in place, as is done with the goshawks to prevent them from carrying the food away. The bird arrived quite promptly after set up: you can see in the first photo that the reflection of the sun in its eye is just above the horizon.

Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian

The third photo is another one of the male with the remains of a pigeon. On the back just below the neck a white spot is visible – this is a diagnostic feature of adult Bonelli’s Eagles and fairly conspicuous in flight though the birds arrived and departed so quickly from the rocky ridge in front of the hide that I didn’t get any decent flight shots.

Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian

They were fast eaters too. The fourth photo was taken 25 minutes after the third: very little of the pigeon remains and the crop of the bird is quite full. The adult goshawk also took about half an hour to demolish a pigeon, but the immature goshawk took the best part of two hours and remained long after the adult had left. Despatching prey at speed would appear to be a skill that takes raptors a bit of practice. Both these photos show the feathered legs or ‘boots’, characteristic of ‘true’ eagles. They’re not exclusive to eagles though. The goshawks had impressive trousers too as do some falcons such as the Brown Falcon of Australia.

Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian

Once fed, the male seemed more aware of what was going on around it and in the fifth photo is peering at the hide, presumably in response to the sound of the camera shutter.

Meanwhile, the female, sixth and seventh photos, was getting stuck into the other pigeon. She was a fine-looking bird too, larger than the male, with hazel eyes and identifiable by much stronger streaks on the breast. The female had much darker trousers, seventh photo, but I don’t know whether that’s generally the case or peculiar to this bird.

Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian Female

Bonelli’s Eagle is widely but sparsely distributed through southern Europe, northern Africa, parts of the Middle East, South and Southeastern Asia as far east as Timor. The European population is about 900 pairs, of which about 700 are in Spain. They are sedentary, keeping to their large home ranges throughout the year. Satellite tracking in Spain has shown an average home range of 200sq km/77sq miles with a core range of about 45sq km/17 sq miles.

Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) by Ian Female

The generic name ‘fasciata’ comes from the Latin fascia meaning stripe, band or sash. It’s usually used in birds to refer to horizontal bands or barring but maybe Veillot, the taxonomist responsible, was referring to the barring on the ‘trousers’ rather than the streaks on the breast. Veillot, Jean Pierre that is, was an important French avian taxonomist, 1748-1831, who extended the three-level Linnaean classification of order-genus-species into order-tribe-family-genus-species in his Analyse d’une nouvelle Ornithologie Elémentaire (1816). Franco Andrea Bonelli was, unsurprisingly, an Italian ornithologist 1784-1830 and discovered both this eagle and Bonelli’s Warbler in 1815. He worked at the Natural History Museum in Paris 1810-11 before returning to Italy to take up the position of Professor of Zoology at the University of Turin. Interestingly, he published his main works in French.

What would we do without Wikipedia?

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey. (Job 9:26 KJV)

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. (Habakkuk 1:8 KJV)

What an amazing set of photos of this magnificent Eagle. Thanks again, Ian, for sharing these fantastic glimpses of the Bonelli’s Eagle. Pretty fast eaters, it appears.

This Eagle is a member of the Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks and Eagles Family and a Bird of the Bible also. Eagles are mentioned over thirty times in the Bible, plus they are included in the various “birds of prey” verses.


Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Eagle Family pages

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks and Eagles Family

Birds of the Bible – Eagle