Monday, May 01, 2006

Songs of West Virginia Birds

Authors of bird guides and other texts have long struggled in trying to describe the songs and calls of birds in human terms. Most have reverted to some type of mnemonic rendition, a device to help humans more readily relate to the sounds emitted by the birds. The use of mnemonics to describe bird songs has a long history, but was perfected by Aretas A. Saunders in his 1941 book, A guide to bird songs.

In subsequent posts, I will summarize written descriptions of the songs of selected West Virginia breeding birds. Each summary will include relevant text from the following sources:

Alderfer, John (editor). 2006. Complete birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 664 pp.

Alsop, Fred J., III. 2001. Birds of North America: eastern region. Smithsonian Handbooks, DK Publishing, New York. 751 pp.

Bull, John, and John Farrand Jr. (as revised by John Farrand Jr.). 1995. National Audubon Society field guide to North American birds: eastern region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 797 pp.

Dunn, Jon L. 1999. National Geographic field guide to the birds of North America. 3rd edition. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 479 pp.

Farrand, John, Jr. (ed.). 1985. The Audubon Society master guide to birding: Old World warblers to sparrows. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 399 pp.

Griggs, Jack. 1997. Field guide to all the birds of North America. American Bird Conservancy, Washington, D.C. 172 pp.

Peterson, Roger Tory, and Virginia Marie Peterson. 2002. A field guide to the birds of eastern and central North America. 5th edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 427 pp.

Robins, Chandler S., Bertel Bruun, and Herbert S. Zim (as revised by Jonathon P. Latimer, Karen Stray Nolting, and James Coe). 2001. Birds of North America: a guide to field identification. Revised and updated. Golden Guides from St. Martin’s Press, New York. 359 pp.

Sibley, David Allen. 20000. The Sibley guide to birds. National Audubon Society and Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 544 pp.

Stokes, Donald, and Lillian Stokes. 1996. Stokes field guide to birds: eastern region. Little, Brown, and Company, Boston. 471 pp.

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