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RE: Bird and Frog sound references

Subject: RE: Bird and Frog sound references
From: "Barb Beck" <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 16:25:09 -0600
Two bits from an old prof.

Our learning CD set (which are currently only in crude form for my
students), have a clip of the song at the start, narration, then the rest of
the recording.  It also only has the narration on one track so my students
can easily shut me up and practice without the blab.  They have found that a
great help.  In the CD format they can also shut me up and shuffle play to
really quiz themselves.  Similar songs are placed together and compared on
comparison tracks.

There is the old narration before vs after argument.  I think both have
merits.  The absolute beginner gets frustrated if he does not know what he
is listening to.  The narration at the end allows those who already sorta
know the song to automatically quiz themselves when they hear it. In the
long one if I had to choose the best for actual learning is that at the end
BUT you lose beginners who just give up in frustration. It also seems that
once people start learning their vocalizations learning others comes much
more easily. With the narration after a short clip the name of the bird
seems to flow in your brain after the song much as the words to a song you
are trying to remember flow once you get started.  It is a compromise which
appears to be working well.

Barb Beck

-----Original Message-----
From: Drew Panko 
Sent: June 27, 2003 4:00 PM
Cc: Gertrude R. Battaly
Subject: Re: [Nature Recordists] Bird and Frog sound references

Those references are great.

But listening to them is deadly, and they are very hard to learn from.

A good friend of mine had a great idea and I followed it.  Get
the song, and, after a gap, move the ID to the end instead of the beginning
and use it as a quiz for yourself.  Organize it and reorganize it.

All the vireos, warblers, sparrows, etc. or those with similar songs
together, or songs in checklist order, or songs in the approximate
order of when the birds arrive in spring, etc. etc.

Going out into the field with persons that ID the birds by song and
asking them what the songs sound like to them is also helpful.

Start with a few basic species that you hear everyday and learn them
and then branch out.

All this assumes you have totally deficient musical memory like I do.
It has been my experience that talented musicians pick up the bird
songs in a flash.  They just have a problem remembering the bird

Above all, practice, practice, practice.

At 08:31 AM 6/27/2003 -0700, you wrote:
>At 10:13 AM 6/26/2003, Rudy wrote:
> >Doug, you mentioned a few references that you thought were a good way
> >for interested listeners to get over this hump. Would you care to
> >reiterate that list?
>Sure, I find the ones I use most are authored by two of our esteemed list
>members - Kevin Colver and Lang Elliot. Kevin's are the Stokes Field Guide
>to Bird Song, Western Edition and Lang's is the eastern counterpart, Stokes
>Field Guide to Bird Song, Eastern Edition. Both are excellent in their
>breadth - meaning they have several examples of most birds' songs and calls
>- enough to really give you the idea. The recordings on them are excellent,
>of course! For the neotropics I use David Ross's CDs, Voices of Costa Rican
>Birds and Voices of the Cloud Forest.
>Cornell also has some excellent references, like those by Geoff Keller,
>Bird Songs of California and
>Bird Songs of the Rocky Mountain States and Provinces  and Bird Songs of
>Southeast Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.
>For Frogs and toads, I use Lang's The Calls of Frogs and Toads and the old
>Smithsonian Folkways recordings' Sounds of North American Frogs.
>My favorite resource, though is always the web - sites like Walter's for
>frogs, mine for birds, and lots of others - there you will hear more
>complete "vocabularies" and often some of the more unusual sounds a species
>The "hump" for most non-biologists or birders, is that it's necessary to
>know at least something about birds or frogs to get started. Knowing at
>least the family that the subject belongs to will usually be sufficient to
>get started. That's not as hard as it seems - we all know what a woodpecker
>is, or a duck, or maybe a flycatcher or a quail - with that basic info you
>can start searching through the references.
>There are other resources, certainly, and I'd like to hear from anyone on
>the list who likes a particular set of CDs or a web site, or has done one.
>It would be nice to have a list for the future FAQ of reference recordings
>from around the world.
>By the way, I find it extremely useful to "rip" the reference CDs onto a
>secondary hard drive and have them all at my fingertips as I edit my own
>recordings. In CoolEdit if you select "open file" and then just click once
>on each file in a directory it will preview that sound without loading it -
>very handy for running through a bunch of possibilities quickly.
>Doug Von Gausig
>Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
>Nature Recordists e-mail group
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