Bird Sounds

Bird Singing

One of the most characteristic features of birds is the sound that they produce. Most birds produce these sounds by passing air across membranes in their air tract, much as humans produce sounds. However some birds produce sounds by tapping their bill against a hollow tree (woodpeckers). by vibrating their wings against their body (ruffed grouse), or by having air pass across specially shaped feathers (snipe). Birds use these sounds to identify and defend a territory, to attract and hold a mate, and to communicate with their young.

Birders commonly use the sounds of birds to locate birds and to identify the species. Good birders routinely locate 70-80 percent of the birds they find by hearing them first. Take the quiz below and see how many you can identify. Only eight quiz birds are available at one time so be sure to play several rounds to experience them all. You can study this worksheet first to associate words with the bird calls.

Click the sonogram (the picture of the bird's song) to listen to the audio file. Select your answer using the radio buttons. The result of your answer will be presented to you. Move through the quiz using either the next buttons or the arrows at the top of the page.