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Mid-Michigan today.  Heard in a wetlands.  It's the clicking in the background (very beginning of clip and again around 5 seconds).  I wasn't sure if blackbirds could make clicks like that or if it was definitely Virginia Rail (would be a lifer).  Thanks.

April 10.m4a

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8 minutes ago, Jefferson Shank said:

Well... It would only be a lifer if you saw it. I'm Not sure on the ID.

Why? Doesn’t hearing a bird count too? 

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Different birders have different rules for counting birds to their own lists.  I personally only count birds I see, but their is not only one way to do it.

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I count them as long as I see them, even if I barely see it, and manly identify it by it's song.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jefferson Shank said:

I thought you need to see them to originally count them on your life list.

If that was the case, most of us would never get owls, marsh birds, or nightjars.  ABA says if you can ID it, it's alive, and not captive, it counts.  Anything less is just personal preference.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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14 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

If that was the case, most of us would never get owls, marsh birds, or nightjars.  ABA says if you can ID it, it's alive, and not captive, it counts.  Anything less is just personal preference.

Yeah, but how would you know it's not captive or someone playing a recording or a bird mimicking, etc.?  Just saying. :)

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15 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Yeah, but how would you know it's not captive or someone playing a recording or a bird mimicking, etc.?  Just saying. 🙂

That doesn’t seem to bother the birders participating Big Day and other 24-hour counts.  If an audio ID is good enough for their 317th Chuck-Will’s-Widow, it’s good enough for my first. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

That doesn’t seem to bother the birders participating Big Day and other 24-hour counts.  If an audio ID is good enough for their 317th Chuck-Will’s-Widow, it’s good enough for my first. 

That's because some only care about and want the numbers and make it a competition. My personal rule(for a lifer) is I have to see it and be able to ID it. Took me awhile to get some rails, nightjars and owls on my list, even though I know what I heard... but that is OK. 

 

Edited by birdbrain22
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10 hours ago, Jefferson Shank said:

Well... It would only be a lifer if you saw it. I'm Not sure on the ID.

Why? VIRA, if that's what it is (I haven't listened) is as readily ID'ed by sound as by sight. Steve Howell wrote an essay on this topic with a great title -- California Condor, Seen Only

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Here's a louder version if that helps with a little bit of the wind/Red-winged Blackbirds filtered out.  I stood around there for about thirty minutes but couldn't see it.  It would call maybe every five minutes or so.  

April 10 (amp).wav

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11 hours ago, birdbrain22 said:

This relates..some mimics are very good...

https://www.audubon.org/news/are-you-listening-bird-mimic-or-real-deal

It's pretty tough to be fooled for long by some of the Mimidae.  They switch songs so frequently that it's tough to be fooled into thinking 19 different birds are sitting in that same spot.  As to Blue Jays imitating raptors, I posted in another discussion that for this reason, I would stop using calls for unseen raptor IDs.  But that's only in this case.

I know this article isn't exhaustive but how many nocturnally active mimics are there?   What imitates owls or nightjars?

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9 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

Why? VIRA, if that's what it is (I haven't listened) is as readily ID'ed by sound as by sight. Steve Howell wrote an essay on this topic with a great title -- California Condor, Seen Only

Tony, any chance you have a link to the Howell essay?  Googling it returned nothing useful (a list of Steve's scientific, non-essay works that didn't contain it, and a Sierra Audubon .PDF that only referenced it".

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4 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

any chance you have a link to the Howell essay?

99-04-Rules-Howell.png

Oops, tried to post a link - not sure if this is OK?

Can always be deleted if not.

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15 minutes ago, RobinHood said:

Oops, tried to post a link - not sure if this is OK?

Can always be deleted if not.

Yeah, it will zoom in to a readable size.  Thanks!

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I was actually meaning "OK" more from a copyright perspective.

Interesting topic - when I first got more serious about birding a couple of years ago I almost thought of birders  using bird call/song "only" as cheating, probably because it is so much easier to hear a bird than spot the some of the more sneaky, elusive ones. I think now I am just jealous of their knowledge. I am still at the point where, because of my lousy ID skills, I only add a new (for me or a hotspot) species if I have a backup photo (only two exceptions so far were when I was with a more experienced birder).

There is also the Willow/Alder type situation although not quite the same.

Also, I am not sure how readily "rare" sightings are accepted based on call only, probably no different than visual clues and maybe even more reliable.

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I like the article and definitely think that overall if you are experienced and can recognize bird calls and songs it is alright to count heard birds on whatever list you want. One of the great things about birding though is that it is different for everyone. I personally believe that seeing a bird feels much more personal and is a very exhilarating experience. If you only want to hear an Owl than it really isn't very difficult. People, at least in my area, hear owls very frequently, but they rarely see them. I had a Great Horned Owl that I heard in the woods behind my house every night for almost a week, but could not manage to find it, at first. I finally saw it after a week of only hearing it call, a pair actually, flying through the trees and then perching near to myself. It was an experience I will not forget soon. Seeing an Eastern Phoebe fly out from a perch to catch an insect and then dart back and begin bobbing its tail is so different from hearing the bird call. Again though, birding is overall a very personal experience and dictated entirely by what you yourself want it to be. So if someone tells me they heard a new species, a lifer somewhere, I can feel excited for them, and still only add birds that I see to my own life list.

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Posted (edited)

@Charlie Spencer

I thought I had quoted your post in my reply... and I do not know if or how I can add it after the fact. 

The article used a Mockingbird in the video. They don't always switch to many songs. I've had some get stuck on a certain species and just keep repeating it. My use of "mimic" was for any bird that mimics. I, like you ,have been caught my times by a Blue Jay doing spot on Copper's, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed  Hawks... that unless I actually saw the Blue Jay making the call, I would not have believed it at the time. These are not the only species that mimic...

It is also known that some species of warblers do other species calls. And Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos have been known to do each others calls as well. One theory is species nesting nearby may be unintentionally "teaching" their songs to young of other species nearby.

In regards to Is that a real bird?....

I can say that at our banding station, we sometimes play a passerine song(often a rarer species), owl or other species call...and I have heard numerous accounts of birders saying they just heard such and such species calling and it shows up on their ebird list when they only heard our recording.Honestly I really don't care... just pointing out that it does happen.

I have also been caught a number of times over the years of times hearing a bird calling further up the path to find a from their birder playing whatever species I was hearing from their phone. Again... just pointing out that it does happen.

Edited by birdbrain22
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