For anyone who is not an avid birder, easily distinguishing between the chatter of different birdsongs in your garden or on a nature trail can be difficult – and identifying individual bird songs, impossible. It’s hard to know where to begin, but familiarising yourself with 10 easily recognisable songs here in the UK is a good place to start.
In the next five minutes, you’ll become familiar with 10 different bird songs, several of which you will definitely have heard before – you just might not have been able to match the bird to the song. Birders often learn to recognise and remember different songs by creating birdsong mnemonics. They listen to what words the birdsong sounds like, as well as any distinctive trills or vibrating brrrr noises. For example, the Great Tit produces a high pitched two-note pattern that is universally accepted as sounding like the word ‘teacher’. This is an easy one to remember – just think of an eager child clamouring for attention in the classroom, “Teacher teacher teacher teacher!”.
1. Great Tit Parus major
2. Chiff Chaff Phylloscopus collybita
3. Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto and 4. Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
5. Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
6. Blackbird Turdus merula
7. House Sparrow Passer domesticus
8. Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
9. Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
10. Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
Distinctive and unforgettable; often regarded as the most wonderous of bird songs and the inspiration for Keats’ famous poem. If you hear a nightingale, you are very lucky indeed; once common, these beautiful birds are now Red listed in the UK.