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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Sunday, 15 June 2008 20:07

Bird luring using recorded birdsongs


Originally I was tempted to call this article as „review of the new bird call Sony Ericsson W610i“. To explain this strange heading - I bought this cellphone because of its announced quality radio and mp3 player without having it in hands before. After internet purchase and sending it back twice for repair and realizing that I have too big fingers for such small buttons I thouht I made a big mistake. It fortunately came out that the phone can be used for playing the birdsongs that are available on the internet and thus to use the phone as a bird call (lure).

There are certainly many opponents of bird calling among ornithologs and wild-life photographers but the truth is that in some cases bird calling is invaluable aid for both the birdwatching and photography. Here I would like to briefly sum up my first experience with the bird calling that I used during shooting Passerines. It is worth to mention that I have never before read anything about bird calling and so take this report just like my personal field experience.


One of the best sources of birdsongs are the records of Ing. Pavel Pelz, which can be listened and downloaded from the website of Czech radio broadcasting in the section called „Hlas pro tento den“ (= voice for today). The records are in *.rm file formate that can be played on Real Player. The good thing is that this extension is also recognized by the cellphone Sony Ericsson W610i. The records from the website has several tens of seconds of birdsinging in maximum and are without any comment so they can be directly used for bird calling without any other adjustment – just in the shape we download them from the web. I usually upload the records into my cellphone into the “ringtones” folder and play it back by choosing: menu – settings – sounds and alerts – ringtone – ringtones – play the ringtone. The volume of the sound can be adjusted on the cellphone but I usually leave it at the maximum. IMG_1843 Surprisingly it is possible to attract such a squeaker as is e.g. Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)from larger distances but it must be said that in the direct “duel” between this small bird and the cellphone tha latter loses no doubt! After the full recharging the cellphone can play birdsongs continuously for several hours with the volume turned on the highest level. It is a matter of course that diverse bird species react differently to the bird calling and also according to the season: while some of the species react through all year round, the others only in certain year periods – for example in Spring during the nesting. It is very important to pay attention to not to disturb the birds – some of the bird species react to the bird calls because they protect their territory and they can eventually happen to leave the area or not to breed at all when we disturb them too much! So it is always good to use the bird calling wisely and with consideration for the year life cycle of birds.



Bird calling by using recorded birdsongs is especially useful in the case of species that live rather inconspicuously – among the others lets mention the forest birds like are Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) or Crested Tit (Parus cristatus). It is well known that Goldcrest reacts through the whole year to the bird calls. This middle-Europe smallest bird can be hardly ever seen and it is more common to hear its specific mellow voice from somewhere up on the top of the spruce in the forest. Although the smallest bird, it is not afraid of man at all and can come so close to the bird call that it can be reached by hand and that happens even with no hiding or masking. It is interesting that the Goldscrest keeps to fly around for quite long time – even one hour or longer – and it does not care at all that its new friend who is it talking to (You) is about 15000 times heavier that itself. Goldcrest is very restless bird and it is quite a task to make a picture of it with the lens of focal length of 400mm or longer. Taking into account that it comes often so close to you, you can easily use shorter 200mm or 300mm lenses instead.


Unlike, Wren is very sturdy protector of his territory and when disturbed by bird calling he often reacts in the same manner – either it replies from the distance by singing his song or quickly approaches to the source of bird call in order to find out what is going on in its forest. Once the Wren came so swiftly that it almost bumped into my face covered by green camouflage net. After finding the rival (You), Wren starts with its typical short shouting while jumping violently on the tree branches keeping its eyes always on you. After some while it usually flies somewhere up where he sings its characteristic song with the power that cannot be beaten by your poor bird call (cellphone of course). It is better not to disturb Wren too much and rather leave its territory quickly. He will often escort you out of his area with proud look in its face while singing his beautiful song.



When you try to attract Crested Tit it usually replies by singing its song and in a while it appers somewhere close to you – either in the dense forest undergrowth or at the top of the nearby tree in order to have a good lookout. It happens quite often that the Tit leaves soon after the arrival as soon as it realizes that you are not that interesting as it seemed from the song you had played. Then the Tit seldom comes back when you try to attract it again. But when it comes and stays for a while it is a great cpectacle when it sings and fluff up the crest on its head; because of the strong territorial behaviour of Crested Tit it is better to leave soon and not to disturbe it, especially during the breeding season in Spring.


There are many other bird species that can be attracted by recorded birdsongs, e.g. the Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) that behaves very alike to Crested Tit so you can make your own experiment and try to allure some other birds – it teaches you a lot about their lives. At the end let me emphasize again – bird calling is very useful mean for atracting some bird species but this must be done wisely in order not to hurt or disturb them. Good luck with your bird calling!

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 February 2011 08:46
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