My daughter bought me the set of cd’s "Birding by Ear."
I took a field ornithology class about 30 years ago at the Terra Alta Biological Station of West Virginia University. A group of students walked (or waded) behind an older, charismatic wildlife professor. When he heard a song that he was going to teach us he would waggle his index finger like he was scolding a tree top until the bird stopped singing. When the song began so did the wagging finger. He would then tell us about the bird, its habits and its habitat. I loved both the class and professor Wiley.
30 years later I get a job where my office is beside a lake with a trail around it. I hear bird songs I once knew but have now forgotten. My wonderful daughter fills the void with a great Christmas present. Now, I listen to the cd as I drive to work.
Yesterday was my first walk around the lake after the holidays. Even in the dead of winter, I was impressed by the number of bird songs and calls I could hear. I learned from the cd that there is a Carolina Chickadee whose song is different from the Black-capped Chickadee with whom I was familiar in my youth. On my first day out I heard the former’s song and knew the difference!
I also heard a Wood Peewee and in trying to spy him out discovered a Tufted Titmouse! Needless to say, my walk was much enriched. (Although my lap time was greatly reduced!)