Cornell Bird Academy teaches bird-call recognition.

Watch Very Precise Birders Teach Us How to Mimic Bird Calls

Watch Very Precise Birders Teach Us How to Mimic Bird Calls

Slate in motion.
Aug. 8 2017 8:48 PM

Very Precise Birders Teach Us How to Mimic Bird Calls

Say “quick three beers!” three times fast.

birdcall

Cornell University

Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody!

Quick three beers!

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Sweet, sweet, sweet. Isn’t it sweet?

Is this dada poetry as imagined by InspiroBot? Mnemonics, actually. A new online course from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology uses phrases like these to help students learn to identify bird songs. The course exposes students to the bird songs in natural, recorded soundscapes, combining listening with visual cues to help birders recognize calls as they will hear them in the noisy reality of the forest, not just in isolation.

And it’s not just about identification: As ably demonstrated by the students in this video from Cornell, birders who take the course also learn to produce bird calls. Sweet, sweet, sweet, isn’t it sweet?

As a little preview, and a test for those who already consider themselves avid birders, there are 10 different bird calls demonstrated in the video. Take a listen and see how many you think you can identify, then head here for the original post to see a list of the bird calls in order of appearance. They’re in the expanded comments beneath the video.

Jon Kelvey is a writer and journalist based in central Maryland. Follow him on Twitter.