What Are Bird Song Mnemonics?

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Bird song mnemonics are verbal descriptions or phrases that help people remember and identify different bird songs. They are often used by birdwatchers and ornithologists as a way to distinguish between the complex and varied sounds that birds make. Mnemonics can describe the song’s rhythm, pitch, or pattern, using words that mimic the sound or provide a visual image. For example, a mnemonic for the song of the American robin could be “cheerily, cheer up, cheer up.” These mnemonics are a valuable tool for bird enthusiasts to enhance their ability to recognize and remember the unique songs of different bird species.


Have you ever engaged in the activity of observing birds? It can be highly enjoyable to witness unfamiliar bird species soaring through the sky or perched on tree branches. Humans have always held a deep fascination for these airborne creatures that produce pleasant chirping sounds.

Speaking of chirping, have you ever taken the time to closely listen to a bird’s vocalizations? If so, you might be acquainted with some of the phrases they seem to utter. Have you ever heard a bird “say”, “Please, please, please to meet’cha”? Or perhaps, “I am lazee”? Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Who cooks for you”?

What? You mean to say you’ve never heard a bird engage in conversation? Well, birds do not possess the ability to actually speak, of course. However, seasoned bird watchers make use of phrases like these to represent the songs of different bird species. This practice is commonly referred to as bird song mnemonics.

You may have come across the term “mnemonics” before. It refers to a system that aids in the process of memorization. Have you ever recited the phrase, “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally”? This is a mnemonic device that assists in remembering the order of mathematical operations. How about the phrase, “My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Noodles”? This mnemonic can help you recall the order of the planets in our solar system. Simply pay attention to the initial letter of each word, and then correlate it with a planet that also begins with that same letter.

Bird song mnemonics match the calls of birds with a specific phrase that possesses a rhythm similar to the bird’s song. By memorizing these phrases, bird watchers can use them to identify the types of birds they hear.

So, if you ever hear the phrase, “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 find yourself walking through the woods and hear the phrase, “Who cooks for you”, be sure to look around for a barred owl.

There are numerous other mnemonics for bird songs. They prove to be extremely beneficial for bird watchers. While enthusiasts of avian species are usually well-versed in the physical characteristics of most birds, the memorization of mnemonics allows them to identify birds even without visual confirmation. After all, it is not always feasible to catch a glimpse of the bird producing the sounds. It may be perched high up in the branches or too far away to be seen. It might even be camouflaged in its surroundings!

Are you an avid bird watcher? It is an immensely popular hobby. Of course, in order to make use of bird song mnemonics, it is crucial to listen attentively. It can be highly beneficial to listen to recordings of various bird species before embarking on a search for them. By familiarizing yourself with their songs and memorizing the associated mnemonics, you will become more adept at identifying birds based on their unique chirping sounds.

The next time you find yourself outdoors, pay close attention to your surroundings. Can you hear any bird songs? Are you able to discern the species of bird that is producing the sounds? Memorizing a few bird song mnemonics might just prove to be helpful!

Try It Out

Remember to seek the assistance of an adult friend or family member when engaging in these activities!

Bird Watching Activities

1. Spend some time outside and listen to the beautiful melodies of birdsong. Can you create your own bird song mnemonics? What do you think the birds are trying to say? Collaborate with a friend or family member to come up with new mnemonics. Write them down and try to identify the species of bird that sings each song.

2. If you are new to bird watching, educate yourself further about this hobby. Afterward, compose a paragraph detailing the steps that beginners should take when starting out as bird watchers. What essential information should they be aware of?

3. Explore this compilation of bird song mnemonics! Can you imitate the sounds of these birds using the given mnemonics? Test your skills with a friend or family member. Then, search for recordings of the actual birds online. How accurate was your imitation?

Recommended Sources

  • http://www.fernbank.edu/Birding/mnemonics.htm (accessed on 05 July 2019)
  • http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/blog/archive/memorizing-bird-songs-made.html (accessed on 05 July 2019)
  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/bird-watching (accessed on 05 July 2019)
  • http://birding-world.com/using-bird-song-mnemonics/ (accessed on 08 July 2019)

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