Bird language in the field

by Ceal Craig

As a persistent birder, but no expert, I am always trying to learn more about these enchanting species. San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory offered a workshop in February, Listen and Decipher: Bird Language in the Field, led by Jeff Caplan. If you ever can take this workshop, it’s quite enjoyable.

Recently, I explored another place to take a small walk, right in the middle of Silicon Valley: Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara, not too far from Levi’s Stadium or the Refuge’s Environmental Education Center in Alviso.

I always enjoy the hallmark notes of a Western Meadowlark or Northern Mockingbird, but I never really thought about them as part of a language: calling to members of the flock, alerting other birds about a threat, singing to attract a mate, or sometimes just chirping, “I’m here.”

I highly recommend, on your next bird walk, just stopping, listening, observing, and making those connections to try to understand what birds are telling each other, and us.