As I referenced in my last post I spent 3 hours at the local park last weekend. Besides the woodpeckers another reason I was there that long was I finally took the time distinguishing two high-pitched calls – the Brown Creeper’s and Golden-crowned Kinglet’s.
I have referenced before I can still hear very high sounds. We take an annual hearing test at work and my results have barely moved in over a decade. The chart on my left ear hasn’t moved and my right ear barely. So I usually hear both Brown Creepers and Golden-crowned Kinglets before other people.
But that doesn’t mean I can distinguish between the two.
Both species were in the same area Saturday which gave me ample time for distinguishing between the two high-pitched calls.
Upon exiting the car, I immediately heard one of the high-pitched calls. Seeing as I was in the parking lot with only a few trees that meant they were probably Golden-crowned Kinglets. I don’t know about you but they are hard to see feeding in even a half-leaved tree. It took a few minutes before I finally spotted two near the tree top.
Listening for a few minutes before the pair flew I decided the call sounded like see repeated over 4-5 times, stopped, and repeated: seeseeseesee seeseeseesee
I little later in the walk I came across 3 Brown Creepers in a wooded area. I watched and listened to them. It sounded more like a repeated trill lasting for a second: seeeeet
The two sounded basically the same but I could pick up the different notes of the kinglet while the creeper’s notes trilled together. So there is a difference.
The ultimate test came when I came across both species together (along with several other woodland species). This time the Golden-crowned Kinglets were making the repeated call but were also making more single note calls – a long repeating seet – seet seet seet
So could I distinguish the two species by sound? Yes.
The trill of the Brown Creeper gave it away versus the Golden-crowned Kinglet’s more distinctive single notes. I’m sure both species have other calls but these are the ones I usually hear in the Midwest.
Once again spending a couple of hours to learn something instead of seeing how many species I could chalk up will pay dividends.