What birds am I hearing in the AM?

Do you wake up to the sound of the morning chorus in Park Slope and Brooklyn?

Photo: an American Kestrel in Prospect Heights (image via here, thanks to a Creative Commons license)



As one parent asks the group:


"Hello! My 2yr old and I are enjoying listening to bird calls in the early morning, now that the sun is rising earlier.
I'd like to show him pics of them.

We hear mainly three:
1) the one that sounds like some kind of dove
2) the one that has a delicate single chirp call and
3) the loud brassy one that sounds like QUACKQUACKQUACK.

Anybody know? Thanks!"




Useful resources:


Cornell 'All About Birds' Website

Feeder Watch



Book recommendations:


Bird Calls

The Complete Bird Songs Audio Book




"What a great discovery with your child! The coo-ing sounds are from doves- either mourning doves (a lovely gentle call) or rock doves/pigeons (a more burbling coo). Both are common in Brooklyn, but the rock dove was brought here from Europe.

The chirps are from house sparrows, another European transplant.
The quacker sounds to me like it's a grackle.
Other birds you will hear a lot from are starlings (another European transplant) which have a syrinx instead of a larynx, and can thus sing more than one note at a time- and the green parrots that have colonized Brooklyn.

Enjoy birding with your little one! YouTube offers great videos with the different calls of these birds."




"There is such a wide variety of birds here, it is difficult to point to exactly which ones you are hearing, but below is a list of the most common:

Northern Cardinal - this has a variety of songs as the male sings to his mate
Blue Jays have a screech
Starlings also chatter a lot and Mourning Doves might be making the coo sound.

However, we are also in the middle of migration and you may be hearing the Grackle which has a deep raspy call.

For more information and a great online resource including their calls/songs visit the Cornell 'All About Birds' website."


Photo: a Blue Jay (image via here, thanks to a Creative Commons license)



"Although a little late this year, they have an amazing program call Feeder Watch. For a small sum, they will send you an identification chart and then the ability to track and count birds and enter it online.

From our backyard on 21st St. we've seen:
Red-bellied woodpeckers
Downy Woodpeckers
House finches (these are awesome because they are bright purple!)
Red-tail and Cooper's hawks

And of course the infamous bright green Monk Parakeets from the cemetery!




"I am a huge critter-lover, domesticated and otherwise...

1. The one that sounds like a dove is indeed a dove.  It's called a Mourning Dove. It looks like a small grayish-beigeish pigeon.
2. The single chirp is probably a Cardinal. If you watch carefully, the babies hide in the brush on the ground and when the parent (mother or father) wants to find them, the parent chips twice, and the baby answers with one chirp. It's like they are playing "marco polo"
3. The brassy quack is actually the bark of an angry squirrel. They will bark at other squirrels, birds, cats, dogs and people -- anyone that is in their space. An angry squirrel is funny to watch, especially when it is up in a tree and it is barking in a cat snoozing in the sun who's not even paying attention.

Here's a website that you will probably enjoy, NYC BIRDS.



"We have this book and my daughter loves it (and I do too) because she can go through on her own and look at birds and press in the code and listen to the call.  It is all North American birds and uses the recordings from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.   My bet on the quacker is Blue Jay (although it is more of a screech than quack) rather than a grackle but grackles are a good guess too as they are LOUD and obnoxious.  You may be able to spot them and figure it out - Grackles are usually more easily spotted than Blue Jays as they are the birds who are afraid of no one (in my experience) and are on ground more than blue jays!  If it is them, they look like crows but big ones with a shimmer to their feathers (think oil slick in a puddle on a wet day) and yellowish eyes.  And they don't have to migrate to be here - they are residents in NY - at least common ones. The book I refer to is THIS one and there are probably many more like it.




"My toddler is also very into birds and their calls and better at identifying them than I am. Your cooing bird is probably mourning doves, though, as someone suggested, maybe pigeons.  The single chirp could be a lot of things, especially now that some migrants are passing through. My guess would be cardinals. Pairs of birds often chat back and forth to let each other know where they are. Last week we saw a huge flock of migrating robins and a smaller group of cedar waxwings on 3rd St. eating cherries and tree seeds.  The quacker might be a woodpecker. They make a funny sounds that sounds like a complaining squirrel.  We got a really fun book called Bird Calls that has buttons you can push for the sounds. It's one of my daughter's favorites. We also carry shelled sunflower seeds to pass out in our travels. If you put a handful on your windowsill you might see who is singing because they're really desperate for food this time of year."