The other day I heard a new song. No, not on the radio, in the front yard. Since early childhood I have paid attention to the birds that visited the birdfeeder whenever I was in a place to have one, and this is certainly one of those places. Also during the last decade I have stumbled upon the concept of ‘birding by ear’ – i.e. identifying the avian life within range by their song. In the last year or so I also stumbled upon a wonderful website – whatbird.com that helps you identify which bird you’re seeing without having to plow through every page of the bird book. It also has ‘translations’ of what the bird sings, and many pages have recordings of the song.
I crept out onto the front porch to see who was singing in the front mesquite. Was it a Kingbird, a Cowbird? It looked a bit like a mocking bird in some ways, but mocking birds don’t repeat that one phrase. So, off to the computer and a few minutes later I identified it as a California Thrasher. The song (it was singing ‘churr-erp’) was vital, as my description came up with about a dozen birds based on size and color.