Friday, December 28, 2007

Ringing in the New Year

The woods are never completely silent. On cold winter days, you won’t hear buzzes or clicks of insects, or the flute-like song of a wood thrush… but you can hear dried leaves rustling in the wind, water flowing downstream, woodpecker taps and calls, and warbler songs. That’s right. Warbler songs.

You see, bird vocalizations can be categorized as ‘songs’ or ‘calls.’ Songs are almost exclusively performed by the males to establish and maintain territories for breeding. The songs function to simultaneously ward off competitors and attract mates. Calls are simple notes or phrases uttered by males and females to communicate the availability of food, presence of predators, or relative distance from the receiver. Since true bird songs are reserved for breeding season activities, even year-round residents have nothing to sing about in the winter months. Or so you would think.

Pine Warblers set up their territories, mate and breed earlier than most other birds in the forest. In Louisiana, they start singing in the winter, and are nesting by the middle of March. So, on a sunny New Year’s Day at Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park, the forest rings with the tremulous trills of male Pine Warblers singing in the canopy.

Listen to the Pine Warbler:
Find good information about the Pine Warbler:

No comments: