How to Identify Bird Songs

How to Identify Bird Songs
Experienced birders not only can identify a bird by sight, they can also identify many species by their sounds. This does not come easily and without much practice. For the average bird-watcher, there are many ways to learn specific bird sounds to become proficient at recognizing bird songs.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • field guide to birds
  • audiotapes of bird songs
  • notepad and pencil
Step 1
Learn the songs of the most common birds in your region. Start in your own backyard with the birds that frequent your lawn, nearby trees, rooftops, feeders and birdbath. First identify the bird, and then wait for it to sing, taking mental notes about the sounds the bird produces.
Step 2
Walk around your neighborhood listening and searching for singing birds. Block out all but one sound and follow it until you can actually see that particular bird. Try to identify the bird using your field guide and then associate its song with that particular bird. Take notes on how the bird sounds, the frequency of its songs and its behavior while it sings.
Step 3
Realize that the majority of songs are sung by the male of the species. This fact will allow you to look for the male, with its distinctive plumage and features, rather than the female, which is often a bird with less colorful feathers and colors.
Step 4
Go to websites that have recordings of bird songs, and listen to those that belong to birds in your area. An excellent site is This site provides comprehensive information about bird species as well as recordings of their calls. By listening to bird songs and having pictures and data about birds at your fingertips, you will be better able to identify the songs of birds in the field.
Step 5
Utilize audiotapes of birds that you can play on a CD player or on your iPod while in the field. Comprehensive programs are available with the songs of birds in your area.

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