A Song for May 16

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Click the sonogram to hear and see the sound.

This bird was sitting in plain view in the top of a low bush when I recorded him, so, for once on this trip, it was easy to confirm identification visually. That was especially important in this case, because the very similar-looking Chinese Rubythroat was a possibility.

The bird was sitting on a bush because there were no trees. The 10,800-foot pass between Songpan and JiuZhaiGou was nearly flat, and covered with grass and low shrubs. This is the habitat of the White-browed Tit, the only chickadee species in the world that lives in completely treeless areas. Many other species inhabited these shrublands, as well, but the best singer was probably this very rubythroat. After all, he is called Calliope, and that means "beautiful-voiced."

Let the "tape" roll, and look at the variety he generates. Is every song completely different, or does he use phrases again? How are his songs constructed, and which more familiar singers does he remind you of? Static sonograms are below in case you want to dive into these questions. The top one is the same as the one above. The bottom one may be listened to here or by following the link to the eBird checklist. When all is said and done, is he beautiful-voiced?

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