Black-Headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)


a. A sharp ik or eek (P,L).

    Loud, sharp pik or peek!.

    A hard, sharp spik (F).

    Carries 80+ m.

    Another example.


b. Young: a complaining whee-oh (U).

    Plaintive whee, which young birds draw out to whee-you (F).


c. Young birds sometimes give squeaky spik.


d. Song: rising and falling passages; resembles song of American Robin, but more fluent and mellow (P), faster and more varied (L).

    Song composed of enthusiastic, fluty whistles, rising and falling, usually including a rolled note (F).

    The purdeet-chee-wee-o phrases are more characteristic (L).

    Loud, clear tones; phrases strung together more than American Robin's or Western Tanager's, seems like one long phrase, give the impression of a Robin that's drunk; sometimes mixes in single odd buzzy notes (relatively soft).

    Song: example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4.



Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)


a. A sharp tsip (P,L).

    A soft chip (U).

    A hard chip, pit (F).


b. A dry buzz in flight (U).

    A dry buzz, zzzd.


c. Song: high and strident, with well-measured phrases at different pitches; introductory notes usually paired: sweet-sweet, chew-chew, etc. (P).

    Has a few scratchy notes (R).

    A rapid, high-pitched, rambling warble made up of several phrases, each on a different level of pitch; somewhat resembles song of American Goldfinch; tswee-see, chitchit-chit, sip-sip, chu-chee-chee (L).

    Fast "finchy" song, given from conspicuous perch; one pattern a 4-note phrase followed by a 2-note phrase: tee-tee-tee-tee,tyaa,tyaa.



Spotted Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)


a. A complaining nasal me-ay-ee or ma-reeee (L).

    Inquisitive meeww? (U).

    A chwee or shrenk (P). Nasal chewink (R).

    A monosyllable tweee or chweee (F).

    A raspy mew (N).

    A whining chee-ee (N).

    A loud buzzy, nasal grahhnn, rising inflection.


b. A quick chup chup chup chup, mostly given in breeding season.

    Sometimes given with introductory buzz notes rising in pitch.


c. A soft bzzzt (buzzy), given when traveling in groups (contact call).

    A brighter buzz given on territory.  Example from northern Oregon.


d. Song: descending dry trill (R).

    Drawn-out, buzzy chweeeeee; sometimes: chup chup chup zeeeeeeeeee (P).

    Dry trill, often with a single introductory chip discernable at close range; trill trails off at end, like a "sigh:" chptttttttt; varies in speed.  

     Other examples:  example 1, example 2Example 3 from northern Oregon, not decending in tone but in volume.


e. A scratchy chweee or ju-wee? (F). Identified by (N) as a call note rather than song.



Green-Tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)


a. A soft mew (U,P,R).

    Weak ascending cry: dwee or duwee.

    A catlike puee (F).

    Carries about 35 m in brushfield.


b. Chink (like Brown Towhee).


c. Song: Variable, often confused with Fox Sparrow, but less brilliant; opens with sweet notes, ending in long burry notes: weet-chur-cheeeeeee--churrr (P).

    A loud bright chip-cheer-chur-chee-chee-chee-chee (L).

    Often begins with 2 or 3 whistled notes, swee-too, followed by a jumble of short, burry trills; infrequently includes songs and calls of neighboring species (F).



Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)


a. A short chip (P).

    A faint tsip (L).

    Weak, slightly ascending; resembles warbler seet notes.

    A high, sweet tseep or tsip, generally shorter, higher, and sweeter than calls of most other sparrows (F).


b. Song: a dry rattle on one pitch (P).

    An insect-like fast trill, like Dark-Eyed Junco, but faster and less musical.

    Song example 1, example 2.



Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)


a. Loud dry chek (P).

    A harsh tchek, harsher than that of Song Sparrow's (L).

    Sharp chink (U).

    A variety of clicks and chips (F).

    Note similar in quality to "smack" of Dark-eyed Junco, but much heavier, lower (sounds like two metallic balls striking one another).

    Call example 1, example 2.


b. A thin lisp (P).

    Tseet or soft tsook (L).

    A sharp tseest, ascending in pitch like that of Golden-Crowned Sparrow.

c. Brilliant musical song; usually begins with one or two clear notes, followed by a sliding note: sweet sweet cheer chillip chillip, etc.; arrangement varies (P).

    Very similar to song of Green-Tailed Towhee; some songs end with a chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-pppppew, the last note often a "cut-off" descending trill (lacking in Green-Tailed song).

    Notes clearer and more whistled than those of Song Sparrow (F).

    Song: example 1, example 2, example 3.


d. Song of juvenile is simpler, wheezier, and as if the bird is singing by exhaling and inhaling.



Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)


a. Low nasal tchep (P).

    A sharp hoarse chwick (L).

    Chimp (U).

    Musical, somewhat buzzy cheep.

b. A soft seet (L).

c. Song: a variable series of notes, some musical, some buzzy; usually starts with 3-4 bright repetitious notes, sweet,sweet,sweet, etc. (P).  Example.  

    Lively and varied, of many short notes and a trill near the end (R).

    Typical song: 3 or 4 short clear notes followed by a buzzy towee, then a trill.

    Many other local and geographic variations in songs occur.



Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)


a. Junco-like chip (P,R) or chek (L).

    A tik (U).


b. On or near nest with young: doubled, a loud chuck, followed by a high-pitched tsee.

    A low, hard tsup, often repeated (F).

    A flat tshup, repeated in a series as an alarm call (N).


c. A tzee note (U). A sharp buzzy zeee (N).

    Diagnostic (N).

d. Song: sweet and gurgling; suggests both House Wren and Purple Finch; starts with low passages, rises abruptly, drops (P).

    Kee kee kee,see see,see-dle see-dle see-dle, see-see-see-see; starts low, rises, then drops (F).



Golden-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)


a. A chink (U).


b. A tseet (U).

    Slightly ascends in pitch.

    A thin seet (F).

c. Song: three high whistled notes of plaintive minor quality, coming down scale; sometimes a final faint trill (P).

    Clear whistles, descending scale, oh dear me (R).

    A series of 3 or more raspy, whistled notes as above (N).



White-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)


a. A loud pink (P).

    Metallic chink (U).


b. A zee-zee-zee, second note higher.


c. Song: one or more plaintive or wheezy whistles on different pitches, followed by a husky trill or series of trills and chillip's (P).

    Pattern varies geographically; has "lazy" feeling to it.



Dark-Eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)


a. A sharp dit (N).

    A sharp chek, tsip (L).

    A light smack (P).

    Contact call a tsick or tchet (U).

    Similar in quality to Fox Sparrow chek, but much lighter.

    Call and alarm notes: tic, ti-ti-tic; chek (F).


b. Twittering notes (P).

    Insect-like chirpy twitterings, unmusical: t,t,t,t,t,t, etc.

    Often given during low, bounding flights through brush.

    Carries 30-40 m.


c. Soft buzz: bzzzz, bzzzz, mostly in breeding season.


d. A soft buzzy trill in flight (U). (May be a description of call "b" above.)


e. Song: a ringing, metallic trill on one pitch (U).

    Loose, musical trill (P).

    Similar to Rufous-Sided Towhee and Chipping Sparrow songs, but more musical; has a very even cadence, like sewing machine; more musical and usually slower than Chipping Sparrow's.

    Song: example 1, example 2, example 3.

    Rarely, there is an abrupt change of pitch in the middle of the trill (F).



Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)


a. A harsh chuck (U).

    Tchuck (P).

    A low, throaty, explosive chuck; distinctive (N).

    A soft turk (L).

    A sharp chupp or chuck (F).

b. Also a gutteral chatter (P).

    A rattling flight call (N).

    Note: male sings even when migrating or wintering (U).


c. Song: variable of 7-10 notes, flute-like, gurgling, and double-noted (P).

    Has 2 distinct phases: 1-6 pure whistled notes, followed by more complex, liquid, consanant-like notes (F).

    A variable series of bubbling, flutelike notes, accelerating toward end (N).

    A short, flute-like, gurgling phrase, eu-hew, whee-licky, whee-licky, rapidly uttered and ventriloquial in effect (L).



Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)


a. A harsh check (P,N,L) or chup (L).

    Chack, resembles Rusty Blackbird (R).

    A metallic check (F).


b. Song: a harsh wheezy que-ee or ksh-ee, like the creaking of a rusty hinge (P).

    A wheezy check, check kor-ree or o-kee-yay (L).

    Soft hoarse whistle (R).

    A creaking ksheeik (F).

    A wheezy que-ee or k-seee (N).


Various other call notes heard from flocks (F).



Brown-Headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)


a. Chuck note (P).


b. Flight call: weee-titi (high whistle, 2 lower notes) (P).

    Squeaky whistles (N).


c. Females: rattling call (U), chattering call (F).

    A harsh rattle (N).


d. Females: soft tsip (U).


e. Song: bubbly and creaky: glug-glug-gleeee (P).

    High-pitched, squeaky, and bubbly (F).

    A liquid gurgling gloo-gloo, whee-eet or gloo-gleeee and a shrill whistled whee-eeet (L).

    Often a slow, bubbly, heavy (liquid quality) trill on one pitch.



Northern Oriole (Bullock's Race) (Icterus galbula)


a. A sharp skip (P) or kip (L).

    A clear, sweet kleek (F).


b. More commonly, a chatter (not very tonal).

    A grating chatter (F).

    A sharp twittering che-che-che-che (L).

    Carries 80 m.


c. Song: a loud series of whistles, chuck, chucky, wheew, wheew, wheew (U).

    An accented kit,kit-tick,kit-tick,whee-oo,wheet (L).

    A series of accented double notes with 1 or 2 piping notes (P).


                        FAMILY FRINGILLIDAE

Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)


a. A sharp pit, given in flight (U).

    A sharp, musical chip, given in flight (R).

    Dull, metallic tick, unlike any note of House Finch (P).

    Carries about 60 m.


b. A rich cheer-lee (U).

    A musical chur-lee (N).


c. Song: fast, lively warble; resembles song of House Finch, but lower in pitch, shorter, less disjointed (P).

    Most notes given in pairs or triplets; in contrast, House Finch's consecutive notes are seldom alike (F). 

    A melodious warbled reegura, reegura, reegura or reeo, reeo, reeo, richity-ree (L).

   Sounds very "hurried" or "startled;" notes and phrases all slurred and run together into one long phrase.

    Song: example 1, example 2.



House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)


a. A chirp call like that of House Sparrow (U,P).

    Flight call a sweet cheeet, often given in series, especially when bird takes flight (F).

    A hoarse wheat (N,L).

    Notes musical, "finchlike" (P).


b. Perched birds often give drawn-out, scratchy ascending and descending note similar to last note of song (F).


c. Song: A bright lengthy song, loose and disjointed; frequently ends in a harsh, nasal wheer or che-urr.

    Song a scrambled series of rhythmic notes usually lasting 3 or more seconds; song slower, less monotonic, less fluid, and higher than that of Purple Finch; often ends on distinctive ascending note (F).

    Lively, high-pitched, usually with 3-note phrases; usually ends in nasal wheer (N).

    Usually ends in harsh chee-wher (L).

    Two examples from northern Oregon:  example 1, example 2.



Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)


a. A hard jip-jip or jip-jip-jip (P).

    Kip-kip-kip, frequently given in flight (R).

    Jeep-jeep (U).

    A sharp kip-kip, kip-kip-kip, often alternated with a chit-chit, zicker-zicker-zeeeen (L).

    Carries 150 m.


b. Song: Jip-jip-jip-jeeaa-jeeaa, or warbled passages and chips (P).

    A variable series of whistles, trills, or warbles, often in groups of 2 or 3 notes: chip-chip-chip, jeea-jeea, or jib-jib-jib-jee-jee-jee (F).

    Finch-like warble (L).


Note: recent studies indicate that the red crossbill is a cryptic species complex, consisting of perhaps 7 species throughout the continental U.S. each specializing on different seed food resources (Benkman 1993; Groth 1988, 1993).



Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)


a. A drawn-out buzzy shur-ree-ee (L).

    A long buzzy shreeeeee (P).

    A rising buzzy schhrreeee (U).

    An ascending, unmusical dzzzzzzzd; diagnostic.

    A harsh, rising juuaah (N).

    Example 1


b. In flight, a scratchy shick,shick (U).

    A loud clee-ip clee-ip (P).

    A loud clee-up (L).


c. Also in flight a thin tsee (P).


d. A light tit-i-tit (P).

    A high-pitched pi-ti-tic in flight (L).


e. A series of wheezy, very short jh-jh-jh-jh-jh.


f. Song: similar to American Goldfinch's; more coarse and wheezy (P).

    A long, rapid jumble of notes with overall nasal quality; loud, forceful, rising zzzhrreeee note usually included (F).

    A rapid succession of rattle notes; often sings on the wing while flying in a wide circle (L).



Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)


a. Sweet, plaintive notes, either rising inflection, tee-yee, or falling inflection, tee-yer (P,L).  Example.

    Given in flight, these "double-whistled" notes are diagnostic.


b. Plain jee or ee-ee, often heard when flushed and uttered in glides between wingbeats (F).



c. In flight, a wheezy whzz whzz whzz.

    Carries 150 m.


d. In flight, a jumble of chittles or chipples.


e. Song: musical; notes often paired; more phrased than American Goldfinch's (P).

    More scratchy than American's (R).

   A sweet twittering with interspersed upslurred notes (F).

    Sometimes gives song with other calls.  



American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)


a. Given in flight, per-chik-o-ree is diagnostic (R).

    Ti-dee-di-di (P).

    Potato-chips (U).

    Chi-dup, chi-dee-dup, or ti-dee-di-di; given in flight, usually between wingbeats (F).

    A rollicking ka-chee-chee, ka-chee-chee, given in flight (L).


b. Also in flight, yip-yip (U).


c. A sweet, whining chi-ee (F).  

    A clear sweet call (L).


d. Song: sustained, clear, light, canary-like (P).

    Has jumbled, sweet, twittering quality similar to end of Lazuli Bunting's song (F).

    A lively series of trills, twitters, and swee notes (N).



Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)


a. A ringing cleer (P).

    A loud House Sparrow-like chirp (R).

    In flight, tchew, tchew, tchew, or p-teer (shrill) or tew (U).

    A clear peer, falling in pitch; often in small flocks, so it sounds jumbled; sometimes will give a single buzzy note mixed in with the above notes when in flight.

    A loud cleep or cleer like that of House Sparrow.

    Strident call, clee-ip or peeer (N).


b. A soft, clicking note given when perched and in flight.


c. Song: A short warble (P,L).

    A wandering, jerky warble (F).