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Date:   Sun, 20 Dec 1998 03:27:53 EST
Reply-To:   RickLWest@AOL.COM
Sender:   Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From:   Rick West <RickLWest@AOL.COM>
Subject:   Re: Learning songs
Content-type:   text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

To GABO-Liners:

Congratulations to Larry N. Ross who wrote on 98-12-18:

<< As someone who is still relatively new to the game of birding I find it easier to learn birds by sound first. Learning the physical features of each species comes easier if I can identify the bird first by call. >>

After many years of birding I still find I rather know the birds by sound that by sight. Every winter I struggle with relearning the differences between the various plumages of the dowitchers, tha small flycatchers, etc, but the calls, once learned, stick with me. The same goes for sparrows and wrens, where the differences in plumage aren't so subtle, and some of the calls are. I found, when teaching boy scouts, that they could quickly learn the required voices of 15 birds, and the knowledge would stick with them.

So beginners should realize that some of them should turn their attention to voices from the start.

Others, of course, will have difficulty with hearing or with memory for sound, and they will just continue to learn by sight. Older people who can still hear birds well should be aware that some younger people with good hearing acuity can derive more information from the complexity of a sound that someone who does not hear quite as well. This is the reason, in my opinion, that some can readily distinguish the vireo songs while others have trouble, and why older people, like me, find it harder each year.

What do others think?

Rick West Tallahassee

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