“I can never remember the songs and calls” is what people often say when I’m talking about birds.
Make it personal, I say, like the visitor on a dawn chorus walk a few years ago, listening to a wood warbler: “That sounds like a washing machine I once had, on its spin cycle”.
“I can’t pick out one from the other”. Don’t worry about it - it’s more important to be out there and listening, enjoying, relishing. I love listening to the woodlands. I can shut out the clutter and noise of modern life, albeit for a short time, and open up to an intelligence far more ancient, far more enriching.
Just practise listening. It really works, and it feels good.
This morning in Cae’r Berllan woods, I heard a treecreeper singing, the first I’ve heard this year. It sounds like this https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/treecreeper/ .
Photo - Treecreeper at Ynys-hir by Rhys Thatcher
I would describe it as a jumbled, complex, sibilant, hurried, sweet cascade, but my words don’t do it justice. If you want to identify individual bird songs, February is a good time to practice because there are relatively few species singing, and you have a better chance of telling them apart.
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