How to be a Birder part 2

Hint # 2: Listen

One of the things I enjoy doing when I wake early is to listen – around dawn – it doesn’t happen too often mind you. I enjoy listening to the dawn chorus of birds. I try to identify all the species by call alone. I also enjoy doing this while camping out bush. Then it is different because I am not always sure what I will hear. When visiting friends or relatives in other parts of the country I am frequently surprised by the different calls coming from the birds outside.

Train your ears to listen

Listening to the birds can be done anywhere, just like watching them. No special equipment is needed. After training your eyes to see the birds in your environment, it is also very important to listen to them. You need to train your ears to listen.

Bird call recordings

There are some helpful resources available that will improve your birding call identification skills. For many years tapes of bird calls have been available. These generally have a short recording of each species. Sometimes the bird names are printed on the cover insert. Sometimes there is a narrator telling the listener what bird call is being played. Now many of these are available on a CD. Far more species can be covered in this format. More recently, birders are turning to using an iPod to store all the bird calls. Some are even taking these into the field to help with identification.

Sheer delight

Whatever method one uses to learn about bird calls, listening to them can be a sheer delight. I few days before writing this I was with my wife having a picnic in the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens in the Adelaide Hills. An Australian Magpie came and sat on our picnic basket and proceeded to entertain us with his beautiful carolling. And all this only a metre away! Magnificent. Click here to read about it.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie


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