Site Information


​How to Identify Bird Calls This Summer

Posted by Amanda Joest on

The beautiful sounds from our feathered friends are just part of what make birding a joy. Although lovely, when a bird sings, it isn’t simply a sweet song, it is actually an indicator of the type and location of the bird. Because birds are often hidden in the trees or brush, learning bird calls is a great way to know what species of birds are near. Whether you’re birding on a nature hike or gardening in your backyard this summer, the following tips will help you recognize birds from Blue jays to owls. 

Look with Your Eyes, Hear with Your Ears

While it may seem obvious, one of the best ways to connect the type of bird with its voice is by visually seeing it. Although this is often difficult in excess foliage, if you can see a bird singing, you will better instill in your memory the song with the species.

Bring an Expert with You

Tackling bird calls without any experience can be very difficult. When possible, go birding with an expert who can help guide and share their knowledge with you. If you don’t personally know an expert bird caller, then look to join a local bird club or join a nature hike sponsored by your local Audubon chapter.

Listen to Recordings

Make note of the birds you regularly see and then look up their sounds online. Luckily, we live in a digital age that allows for excellent recordings of thousands of bird species. In fact, there are now smartphone apps that can help teach you bird calls from the palm of your hand. Of course, while it will still take lots of practice to commit the birds and their calls to memory, these apps can certainly help quiz you as you practice.

Three of the Top Rated Bird Calling apps include:

Audubon Birds Pro: This app available via iTunes, Google Play and Amazon is free and perfect for beginners and experts alike. This guide offers information on appearance, behavior, habitat and birdcalls. There are up to 8 hours of bird calls, which are differentiated by region and season.

Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell: This free app helps users easily identify birds with a step-by-step method. In just 5 questions given to the user, the app will come up with a list of possible matches to identify any unknown bird. Great for beginners or intermediate bird watchers, this app is perfect to bring along on your next hike.

Birdsong Identiflyer: Although not an app, learning birdsongs quickly is a breeze with this easy-to-use tool. Small enough for your pocket, you can learn 10 bird songs in 10 minutes! It contains 40 Birds on two 2-sided Super Song Cards.

Put Words to the Song

It may sound silly, but adding a few lyrics to the bird songs you can help you remember them. As you listen you’ll notice that some bird songs actually sound like words, so this type of activity will be a real advantage in associating the song with the bird.

Pick At It

That’s right, pick the song apart and try to notice as much as you can. From its rhythm and pitch to tone and repetition, the more you study the song (and the recordings of the song) you will begin to identify the various features and unique traits of each one.

Ready to go on a bird calling adventure of your own this summer? Don’t forget to bring your binoculars so you can get a good look at each species!

View Comments

​Mother’s Day Bird Hikes – Make Mom’s day special with these fun hikes

If you’re looking for something fun and unique to do with Mom this Mother’s Day Weekend, then a birding hike might just be the answer! Take mom and the rest of the family to one of these local bird hikes for a very special and memorable day. To make it even more unforgettable, get mom a new pair [...]

Read More »

​Tips for Bird Photography

Those who enjoy birding, quite often take an interest in bird photography as well. It’s practically impossible not to want to capture the breathtaking colors and unique features of our feathered friends while gazing at their beauty. Many also appreciate the exhilarating challenge that comes with capturing wildlife in their nature habitats.For those just starting out, the good news [...]

Read More »

​Birding Festivals to Attend This Spring

Spring has finally sprung and that can mean only one thing – it’s birding festival season! We’ve rounded up some of the best and most exciting birding festivals happening around the country this spring, so get your binoculars and cameras ready, these are too good to miss!  NORTHWEST  Harney County Migratory Bird Festival, Burns, Oregon, April 6-9Join in on the fun [...]

Read More »

10 Favorite Bird Watching Locations Across America

On any given day in the United States millions of bird lovers are outside watching birds. Not only is bird watching a fun and enjoyable hobby, it’s a great way to get outdoors and even get some exercise too. If you’re used to enjoying the birds from your own backyard, why not explore the immense beauty of nature and [...]

Read More »

​Which Birdseed is Best?

Spotting a new or rare bird perched at the backyard bird feeder is one of life’s simple joys. Not only is it fun to watch the various birds come by for a visit, but feeding our feathered friends also helps sustain them when inclement weather makes foraging difficult. More than 50 million people in the [...]

Read More »

CHARMing Goldfinches

                                         CHARMing Goldfinches!   American Goldfinches are some of the most recognizable, friendly birds in the avian world. With their bright color and bouncy behavior, it is no wonder why a group of Goldfinches is known as [...]

Read More »

​Top 5 Bird Feeding Fails

Feeding the birds is a fun way to get to know the native birds in your area. The JCs Wildlife Team has put together five “feeding fails” to avoid. Read on for insider tips on keeping your birds happy and healthy! 1. Dirty Feeders A clean feeder equals happy birds! Sadly, a not so clean [...]

Read More »

February is National Bird Feeding Month!

In celebration of National Bird Feeding Month, we are collecting all of our best tips and tricks and sharing them with you! Look for this badge for the best updates and information focused on feeding our fine feathered friends:Want to get started now?You don't have to wait! Check out these old gems we have dusted [...]

Read More »

January 21: Squirrel Appreciation Day!

Have you heard?January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day!In our line of work we see little love for the poor rodents we call squirrels. Yet, consider the plight of the little critters-- they are an unending source of entertainment and in return we shut them down every chance we get.This poor little guy just isn't feeling [...]

Read More »