Songs and calls of some New York State birds


All sound files are now in mp3 format.

Images are adapted from drawings by Chester A. Reed, B. S. in Chapman.

American Robin
Turdus migratorius
The Robin in my backyard,

same Robin scolding 61kB.
Long Island, May 1996

The Hylocichlid Thrushes can be heard in SLOW MOTION;
some of their songs can be transcribed in musical notation.

Wood Thrush
Hylocichla mustelina

Long Island, June 1996.

"... the golden, leisurely chiming of the wood thrushes, chanting their vespers" Roosevelt

Artnote: The Wood Thrush song has been used with great effectiveness in Peter Shikele's "American Dreams" Quartet.

Attention Wood Thrush fans! Check out the article by Robert Winkler in the New York Times for July 30, 1997, page B12. "Among his winged brethren, the song of the wood thrush has no equal." And much more.

This one is a champion. Notice the double-stopping in almost every register.

"... the sudden drop to a deep contralto (the most glorious bit of vocalism to be heard in our woods), and the tinkle or spray of bell-like tones at the other extreme of the gamut." Torrey, p.113.

A longer record of the same singer.
Paul Simons Preserve, Long Island, July 1998.

Hermit Thrush
Catharus guttatus

Two Hermits and an Ovenbird
Bristol Maine, June 1998.

" ... the leisurely, wide-spaced measures of a hermit thrush. When he sings there is no great need of a chorus; the forest has found a tongue; ..." Torrey 1901, p.148.

"The song of the Hermit Thrush is the grand climax of all bird music; it is unquestionably so far removed from all the rest of the wild-wood singers' accomplishments that vaunted comparisons are invidious and wholly out of place." Etc., etc. Mathews, p.235.

Chenango Valley State Park, May 1999

News: This Bird's Songs Share Mathematical Hallmarks With Human Music: The hermit thrush prefers to sing in harmonic series, a fundamental component of human music by Helen Thompson, November 3, 2014.

Swainson's Thrush (Olive-backed Thrush)
Catharus ustulatus
Long Island, May 1996.

Sonogram range 0-5512 Hz.
Crane Mountain, July 2000.

"The song of Swainson's Thrush is one of the most charming examples of a harmony in suspension which it is possible to find in all the realm of music. The bird deliberately chooses a series of even intervals and climbs up the scale with a thought entirely single to harmonious results." Mathews, p.231.

Catharus fuscescens

Veery juvenile (begging?)
Hamden, Connecticut, May 2000.

The Quicktime Veery of Letchworth State Park
Leicester, May 2001.

"The surpassing glory of the veery's song, as all lovers of American bird music may be presumed by this time to know, lies in its harmonic, double-stopping effect, -- an effect, or quality, as beautiful as it is peculiar. One day, while I stood listening to it under the best of conditions, admiring the wonderful arpeggio (I know no less technical word for it), my pencil suddenly grew poetic. 'The veery's fingers are quick on the harpstrings,' it wrote." Torrey, p. 116.

Sialia sialis

Bluebird 56kB Woodbridge, Connecticut, March 2002.

"A rich and sweet, but short warble." Chapman.

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Tony Phillips
Ma,th SUNY Ston Universityy Brook
tony at
August 4 2014