Birdsong

We’re into week 5 (I think!) of Ireland’s COVID-19 lockdown and one thing that is VERY noticeable is the bird song. But how many can you recognise? Here’s four easy ones to get you started. If the lock down keeps going, I’ll post four more in ten days or so – and hopefully by then you’ll have these off pat. I’ve chosen four really common garden birds that are probably hanging around most Irish gardens right now, especially if you’ve got a Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder!

Great tit

This has to be one of the most easily recognised bird songs to go with one of the most easily recognisable birds. Just two tones to its song, two tones to its head, and two tones to its tummy!

Great tit singing in Cork. Recording by Harry Hussey, XC370819. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/370819

Blue tit

The blue tit has more colours to its head than the great tit, and more tones to its song! Blue tits make a few other calls but you’ll here this one regularly.

Blue tit singing in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Recording by Anthony McGeehan , XC218739. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/218739

Chaffinch

While males of blue tits and great tits are quite similar to the females, the male chaffinch (shown here) is much more splendid than the female. The female has similarish wing markings but is pale brown. The song is once again more complex than either the great tit or the blue tit (at least, I think so!!!).

Chaffinch singing in Argyle & Bute. Recording by david m, XC421024. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/421024

Blackbird

Mr Blackbird again here (Mrs is brown), you can recognise the blackbird song by its much deeper tone. But beware, because blackbirds are really good mimics and sometime they mimic other bird songs. We have an early morning singer that sounds just like a mobile phone, and I’m pretty sure its a Blackbird mimicking!

Blackbird singing in Cork. Recording by Harry Hussey, XC348572. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/348572

Can you see the bird that’s singing? How many different bird songs can you hear, and does the dominant voice change throughout the day?

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