Learning bird calls is essential to improve your bird watching skills. But sometimes it’s not a matter of learning different species, but learning the different calls of the most common species.

robin (turdus migratorious)


American Robins have a distinctive territory song (sometimes sung at 4:30am much to the chagrin of those of us who like to sleep with our windows open). It’s the chirrupy sound that many of us are familiar with. If you get too close to an American Robin’s nest or if a cat or crow is lurking, you might hear this call. But there’s another that can be really handy if you learn to listen for it.

My friend Virginia texted me the other day with the message with an MP4:

“What is making this high pitched sound in my yard??”

Bird Call

I texted back, “That’s the aerial predator call of the robin, either a Cooper’s Hawk that’s flown by or one hidden nearby.”

“I had JUST SEEN a Cooper’s Hawk!  Awesome.”

This is a handy call to learn. For one thing, you can usually catch sight of a hawk. For another, most people don’t notice it so if you do hear it, pause and say, “There’s a hawk nearby.” Most of the time, one will blast through and you can look like an amazing bird whisperer to your non-birding friends.

Written by Birdchick
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped. She loves birds - it’s just the way she’s wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. She runs the popular birding blog, Birdchick.com, and has been in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities’ TV and radio stations. She’s a professional speaker and story-teller and her writing can be found in several publications including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, and Birding Business. She wrote the books 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know, Disapproving Rabbits and City Birds/Country Birds. When she’s not digiscoping, tweeting or banding birds, she’s a part-time park ranger and award-winning beekeeper.