Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Christie from Weston, MA. Christie Wonders, “What are bird song mnemonics?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Christie!
Have you ever been bird watching? It can be so much fun to see new birds flying overhead or relaxing on a tree branch. People have always been fascinated by these flying, chirping animals.
Speaking of chirping, have you ever listened closely to a bird? If so, you might be familiar with some of the things they say. Have you ever heard a bird say, “Please, please, please to meet’cha”? How about, “I am lazee”? Have you heard, “Who cooks for you”?
What? You mean you’ve never heard a bird talk? Well, they don’t exactly SPEAK, of course. However, experienced bird watchers use phrases like these to represent the songs of various birds. This practice is called bird song mnemonics.
You may have heard of mnemonics before. It’s a system that helps with memorization. Have you ever said, “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally”? That’s a mnemonic to help you remember the order of operations in math. How about, “My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Noodles”? That one can help you remember the order of the planets. Just pay attention to the first letter of each word. Then, think of which planet also starts with that letter.
Bird song mnemonics match the calls of birds with a phrase. The phrase rhythmically sounds like the bird’s song. When bird watchers memorize these phrases, they can use them to identify types of birds they hear.
So, if you ever hear, “Please, please, please to meet’cha” there may be a chestnut-sided warbler nearby. “I am lazee”? That’s likely a black-throated blue warbler. And if you’re walking through the woods and hear, “Who cooks for you,” look around for a barred owl.
There are many more mnemonics for bird songs. They’re very helpful to bird watchers. While bird enthusiasts are familiar with the physical features of most birds, memorizing mnemonics allows them to identify birds without even seeing them. After all, it’s not always possible to lay eyes on the bird you hear. They could be high up in the branches or too far away to see. They might even be blending into their surroundings!
Are you a bird watcher? It’s a very popular hobby. Of course, to use bird song mnemonics, you need to listen very closely. It’s often helpful to hear recordings of different birds before you go searching for them. By hearing their songs and memorizing mnemonics, you’ll be more able to identify birds based on their unique chirping.
The next time you’re outside, listen closely. Do you hear any bird songs? Can you tell what kind of bird is singing? Memorizing a few bird song mnemonics may help!
Standards: NGSS.LS3.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.SL.1