9 February 2022
With the spring equinox only five weeks away on 20 March, local songbirds have begun to sing to claim their territories.
Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) rejoined the soundscape in the last week or two. If you hear a loud “Cheer, Cheer, Cheer” look for the singer perched prominently nearby. Listen for two cardinals singing, one near one far, in this recording.
Song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) are some of the earliest to resume singing. They piped up in January.
Each male song sparrow has a unique variation on the basic song. The typical pattern begins with 3 introductory notes, then a warbling jumble that ends with a higher or lower note than the rest of the song. Here are two examples:
Though the flocks of American robins (Turdus migratorius) in Pittsburgh now are probably migrants that will leave in March, they can’t help but sing in fine weather.
Listen for their “Evening Song” at the end of the day.
When the sun shines in early February some other birds sing, too, including Carolina wrens and tufted titmice.
Get your ears in tune while there aren’t many singing so you’ll be ready when they all sing at once in April.
(photos by Peter Bell and from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)
4 thoughts on “Who’s Singing Now?”
Had a bird perched on an air conditioner support frame outside one of my 7th floor apartment windows a couple mornings last week when it was sunny. I tried to get a picture/video but I guess it kept seeing me peeking through the blinds and it flew away so I’m not sure what it was, but might have been a song sparrow based on the picture you posted. Haven’t heard/seen it since though. There was actually an abandoned nest iwith 4 eggs in it inside a different AC support frame when I moved in last summer.
J, Since you live so high up, I wonder if the bird at your window was either a house sparrow (“cheep cheep cheep” https://xeno-canto.org/560583) or a house finch (squeaky https://xeno-canto.org/10165).
There is a Robin that greats me every morning when I fill the bird feeder here in Shaler!
I’ve heard Carolina Wrens singing in our woods for a week or two now.