Is this a bird?

I've been listening to this descending whistling in my garden for weeks and been really puzzled. I've come to the conclusion its definitely coming from the oak trees in the field behind our house and can only assume it's a bird. Does anyone know what bird it might be? (ignore the rustling noises and the crows in the background!)

1588.Bird call.m4a

  • For me, the clip isn't long enough, though I can just make out two very short chirps, my guess, yes a bird.

    Have a browse of the Bird Songs and Calls link below, whilst its not exhaustive, it may help point you in he right direction. The webpage lists quite a large number of birds and where possible, all the different types of call each will make. For some, you could have six or so different calls easily, ranging from alarm calls, through to song and many other types of calling.


    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • It sounds like the contact call of a small bird maybe a Chaffinch but I'm sure others will come up with better suggestions


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Hello Rosy,

    It sounds to me like someone (human) whistling (badly) the refrain from the 1969 Holger Czukay album Canaxis.

    That's a pretty limited refrain, so if it is a human, it's an odd specimen.

    Seriously though, the descending whistle doesn't sound like any bird I know, or like a bird. Which doesn't mean it isn't, as I'm often wrong.

    All the best - 


  • The closest I can think of off hand is a mynha I once knew who had listened to a lot of classical radio. If it is a bird, the chances are good that it is a mimic of some sort. If you want to be certain, it's stakeout time! how exciting.
  • In reply to Shezkah:

    Shezkah said:
    If you want to be certain, it's stakeout time!

    With black paint under your eyes. And sandwiches and soup.


  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    ...and not forgetting your Krautrock compilation to keep you busy, Dave.

    Just don;t include any early Einstürzende Neubauten as this might deter the bird in question - or influence it

  • In reply to rspbailey:

    I had no idea you had a music industry background rspbailey. Perhaps we'll be friends.

    (Others can find the refrain from Canaxis at (careful, it's loud).)

    I always thought it was a little simplistic to describe Czukay as "Krautrock", although I've heard him laugh the label off in an interview. Yes, he studied with Stockhausen. Yes, he co-founded Can. 

    But there was a lot more to Czukay than that, and Canaxis certainly wasn't an example of Krautrock. It would be like referring to These New Puritans' Field of Reeds as "electro", because they previously released Beat Pyramid.

    And then there's Czukay's contribution to ambient music and the use of samples (which is what got me interested in him in the first place; that and his work on Brilliant Trees).

    Have you ever wondered why, for example, (I very often have) Byrne and Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is praised for its groundbreaking sampling, when it was predated by almost two years by Czukay's 1979 post-Can tour de force Movies?

    I suspect it is because Eno and Byrne were broadly and widely cool while Czukay sang about the colour of his underwear. (And maybe that's why he went on to re-master and re-release Cool in the Pool as an instrumental.)

    Still, with the possible exception of Miles, I'd opt for a laugh over cool any day of the week.

    As for EN, a good mate of mine (long deceased, sadly) was responsible for sound at a well-known club, and was there on the day that EN's soundman flipped. During a particularly fractious soundcheck (if I recall correctly), he simply ran his hand across the top of the desk, rotating 32 gains to max (with spectacular results).

    I saw them only once, years later, although I'd always felt that they were (in the UK at least) only known for the noise (perhaps at the origin of your reference to their earlier work). And to be honest, they were absolutely superb. I suspect that various corvids would have enjoyed the playfulness. I was impressed by the musical quality. Volume extremes do not preclude musical or melodic creativity. Mogwai being a perfect example.


    (Can't get the refrain from Canaxis out of my head now, damn it.)

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    I once worked with a guy who was heavily into krautrock at that time I was playing in a folk band so we ended up with some interesting musical selections on the player in the works van.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    I must admit - I never thought of you as an enemy!

    You have a greater knowledge than me of that/those particular genres/sub-genres, though I won't hear a word against Eno (but isn't plagiarism the kindest of compliments) and I just enjoy an eclectic taste - nice name for a band - in music and have this simplistic philosophy regarding auricular pleasure...

    ...if I like it I like it

    I enjoyed your story of seeing EN.

    Their early work was exciting, but by tearing up the conventions of music and instruments and the position of the band within performance, they 'unfortunately' still produced a 'hook' and therefore their anti-music became acceptable and popular (in sub culture) - and also 'musical'!

    But let us not muse about music too much as there's a whistling enigma -a good name for an album - waiting to be discovered in this here thread.

  • In reply to rspbailey:

    rspbailey said:
    I must admit - I never thought of you as an enemy!

    That's nice. I feel the same.

    I don't really know a lot about the genre(s); I was simply around when it was all going on, and took a professional interest.

    I sometimes share your take on Eno. Sometimes I wonder though (about Eno, not you). I'm sure he wouldn't be offended... I've got more Eno CDs on the shelf than, well, Eno.

    Whistling. Yes.

    I still think it's a poor, human rendition of Canaxis. But I like Shezkah's mynah explanation too.