@doughoff Thanks for kicking this off. I’m relieved to see someone else occupied (personally I’m worried) with this topic.
I’ve recently begun some work on memorizing birds in North America. Bird song is one of the more intimidating areas for me as I have absolutely zero knowledge of music beyond a pair of functioning ears.
In my early searches for a comprehensive text to work from, I did note that the book Birds of North America (Golden Field Guides series) by Chandler S. Robbins, & Bertel Bruun, and Herbert S. Zim (St. Martin’s Press, 2001) was one of the few guides that dealt with birdsong and had a short section on the subject in the front and listed visual sonograms for most birds. Sadly, the book didn’t include audio which I think may have been incredibly helpful in matching the sound with the visuals.
I have bookmarked a few websites that deal with it, though there are sure to be many others that match birdsong audio to a visual representation of some sort. Here are a few of those:
- Spectrograms – Earbirding
- Start Using Spectrograms to 'Read' Bird Songs and Calls | Audubon
- Seeing bird sounds | Donald Kroodsma
Initially I imagined that through direct experience in listening and viewing these sonograms, I might come to some sort of facility with them. Next I would potentially rely on the concept of pareidolia to come up with some images to attach to them.
In any case, I thought I’d sketch out my general plan and some of the resources and words I’d come across to see if they may be of help to others. I’m looking forward to seeing what others may have come up with or used as well. Birdsong will assuredly be the last piece of the puzzle that I build into my bird repertoire.
Incidentally, after having done some significant library searching and bird guide/handbook review, I’ve chosen Birds of North America, Francois Vuilleumier (Dorling Kindersley, 2020, ISBN:978-0-7440-2053-3) as my “bible” for it’s structuring of bird families, photographs, descriptions, and variety of data about birds and their ranges. It’s about as comprehensive (for my area of the world) as anything out there, is well laid out, and sort of makes its own method of loci based on page layouts and color schemes. It is too large to take out into the field easily, but I find that working on storing the data is easier in the comfort of the house than the wilderness.
I’ll also note that it has representative visual flight diagrams which may be relatively easy to categorize and therefore memorize bird flight patterns. If others have better or more detailed resources for this, I’d love to know those as well.