Today, I took my daily trip to the park. It was a hot, muggy, cloudy day with minimal wind. Good conditions for recording.
With my gear in hand, I walked down to the edge of the pond and spotted a newcomer, a Northern Shoveler. This pretty bird with a green head and rusty sides was floating around on the water all by herself. Besides this bird, I counted five Muscovy ducks, five mallards, and six American Wigeons.
The first tree bird I found today was the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It proved tricky to positively identify as it was directly above me and backlit by the bright sky.
I walked down the trail and was treated to a Golden-fronted Woodpecker. I watched him jump around the branches like he was looking for something. He wasn’t pecking any trees, he seemed in a more scavenging mode.
Further down the trail near the bend, I spotted an American Robin-sized brown bird in on the path. As soon as it noticed me it ran into the shrubs. It started making rustling sounds as it pushed the dead leaves around on the ground with its beak. I got closer, stood still, and observed the shrub with my binoculars. A Long-billed Thrasher! Excited, I aimed my shotgun microphone at the bird and began recording. Unfortunately, the bird didn’t vocalize but it did continue to make noise in the leaves.
Here is a non-vocal recording I got of the Long-billed Thrasher as it thrashed through the leaves.
I think next time I’m in a similar situation, I may try playback (playback is when you play a bird recording out in the field). By playing the bird’s song on my device one time, it increases the likelihood of the real bird making a sound.
Elsewhere in the park, I heard a funny bird calling out from a nearby tree. I got closer to the tree and discovered a Blue Jay making a sound I’ve never heard before. Check it out:
Did you know eBird accepts all kinds of audio recordings? Your clips don’t always have to be of a bird song or a bird call. Birds make noises in all kinds of different ways: the whistle of wings, pecking on a tree trunk or foraging through dead leaves. These types of sound bites can be useful for documentation and research purposes.