Over the winter and into the spring, I studied bird call notes. I am quite a ways off perfecting this skillset, but I’m enjoying a growing familiarity with contact calls/alarm notes. Learning call notes helps to hone in on birds of interest while walking through the woods, most especially during fall migration, when birds are mostly silent other than chips and tweets, etc. I heard two yesterday that baffled me; one that I heard I was able to ID the third time I heard it: Mourning Warbler and one that I couldn’t place. The bird was buried in the bush and had been stirred to an agitated state by some ‘pishing.’ I stayed quiet as not to encourage into view just yet….a few seconds more, no ID…no idea. I let out a series of pishes and in flies a Scarlet Tanager! The call was a forceful chup; like a slightly crisper and more emphatic Yellow-rumped Warbler call. Scarlet Tanagers are throaty birds, and I envisioned this note swelling in the throat and ‘ejecting’ from a hint of an opening to the bill.
Photo: I was forced to decide on either recording the call or to take this photo…I chose the take-a-photo option, and, to be honest, it appears I captured the bird the moment it was ‘chupping.’
Attached is an example of the call; this is virtually identical to the call I heard, so I was delighted to find this sample: http://www.xeno-canto.org/87763