September 22, 2008

Spring Birdsong in Fall

I woke this morning to the single-note call of a Townsend's solitaire, but yesterday morning one was doing his whole spring song routine. Someone once told me that autumnal singing is related to a minor hormone surge at this time of year -- something that I need to research.

But that single note is one of our key seasonal indicators. M. says that it is actually her favorite bird call. I always think of it as the "All Clear" following a snow squall -- that or the calling of chickadees.


Steve Bodio said...

It's photoperiod I think-- same day length as spring. It affects many birds and some cold- blooded animals too.

Jake Allsop said...

The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) sings sporadically throughout the non-breeding season. This song is wistful and melancholy in contrast to its full-on joyful Spring song. I assume Robins sing this way to maintain ownership of their territory during the off-season.
PS I have seen Townsend's Solitaire once (In Julian, Southern California in January), but it didn't call.