Eastern-wood Pewee (Photo: Joanne Kamo)
Birds can squawk, trill, or chirp, and a few whistle. As Michael Stein points out, those are often the easiest ones for humans to imitate.
[MUSIC - BIRDNOTE® THEME]
CURWOOD: “Whistle and I’ll come to you” may be the title of a famous ghost story by British author MR James but usually whistling is a cheerful sound, and catchy, as Michael Stein tells us in today’s BirdNote®.
Birds That Whistle
[Olive-sided Flycatcher, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/195787]
STEIN: Some of the most familiar and easy to remember birdsongs are those that sound like they could have been whistled by a human. Their quality and simplicity remind us of the sounds we can make, even with our modest human whistling apparatus.
The Olive-sided Flycatcher has one of the most distinctive and catchy songs on the continent —
— and many birders learn early on to pick out its sharply inflected three-note song, and to imitate it [Narrator’s imitation of whistle].
The Eastern Pewee has a catchy tune too…
…pretty much whistling out its name, pee-a-wee. A bit harder to imitate though -
But it’s not only little songbirds that whistle.
[Northern Saw-whet Owl song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/130470]
This night-time whistler's a Northern Saw-whet Owl
We like to think that owls only hoot, but these sound a lot like human whistles and are easy to copy.
Finally, here’s a bird that whistles its heart out.
[From Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest (Keller and Vyn; a Cornell Lab publication), Pigeon Guillemot]
These shrill notes belong to a little seabird, the Pigeon Guillemot [GILL-uh-mot], cousin to the puffins, whistling over the waves along the Pacific Coast. [Repeat Keller and Vyn recording]
I’m Michael Stein.
Written by Bob Sundstrom
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Olive sided Flycatcher  recorded by Bob McGuire; Eastern Wood-Peewee  recorded by Wilbur L Hershberger; Northern Saw-whet Owl  recorded by Gregory F Budney; Pigeon Guillemot recorded by Geoffrey A Keller and Gerrit Vyn, featured on the CD 'Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest' Disk 2 Track 53, Macaulay Library, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.
Surf sound '#23 Surf Moderate' from Nature SFX, recorded by Gordon Hempton, of QuietPlanet.com
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015/2017 Tune In to Nature.org January 2015/2017 Narrator: Michael Stein
BACALL: You know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together…and blow… [SOUNDTRACK, “TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT”
[MUSIC: Ronnie Ronalde, “In a Monastery Garden” on Route 86, Albert William Ketelby, Columbia Records]
CURWOOD: And if you like it, you can whistle on over to our website for some pictures.
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