Yesterday during my early morning bird survey, I heard a bird I have heard many times in that same area. I have looked it up in the past but still could not remember what bird it might be. I did not see it yesterday, but I remembered it to be yellowish in part, and I could tell it was a warbler. Of course, that hardly narrows it down. There are almost as many yellowish warblers as there are reasons I don’t want to scrub the toilet. So I had to search. Again.
I took advantage of the birders tool of choice when trying to identify that mystery species: Google. I just typed in “warbler songs and sounds” and up came several hundred thousand possible sources of just the right information. Google led me right off to All About Birds, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This is a site I have used before and it is usually right on the money. It mostly helped, but I had to search around a bit until I was sure I had the right bird.
I had in the back of my mind, a fuzzy memory from years past, that this was a Magnolia Warbler. The song included on All About Birds was close but not quite what I was hearing. The song I heard yesterday, and all the other days I have been up there, was consistent. It did not vary one bird to the next or from year to year. Two notes, two notes, three notes. One two, one two, one two three. The songs I kept finding were similar, but not all the same as each other, and not the same as I was hearing. But then, on a web site I did not mark and do not remember, I heard the song I needed to hear. It was my song.
Sure enough, I was right about Magnolia Warbler. It was the right habitat, the right range and, now that I had confirmed it, the right song. Done deal.