More of a special effect than a song...
June 24, 2020 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify a (British) bird call from a not very good recording.

I've recorded a clip of a bird I've been hearing in a neighbouring garden (Midlands, UK). It was here last summer, and now I'm hearing it again, mostly in the early evenings. Here's some sub-par audio from my phone..

It's a fairly loud call, with a somewhat 'metallic whip-crack' sound to it, although that doesn't come across well in my recording. My only thought so far is that it could be a starling, as they sometimes mimic other sounds. This bird has been repeating this call fairly frequently, and it's the second year of it. I'm normally pretty good at bird identification, and I recognise a lot of their calls/songs. This one, however, is a bit of a mystery to me.

Any suggestions? If it is indeed a starling, what sound is it copying?
posted by pipeski to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could it be a jackdaw?
posted by heatherlogan at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2020

(Example of jackdaws calling)
posted by heatherlogan at 3:25 PM on June 24, 2020

Response by poster: I had considered a jackdaw, and agree that the tone is similar, but it's not a particularly crow-like sound; it's much less 'raspy'. It's always the same three-part sound as well, repeated once every few minutes.
posted by pipeski at 3:38 PM on June 24, 2020

posted by RandomInconsistencies at 3:40 PM on June 24, 2020

Response by poster: Definitely not a varied call like a jay, and it doesn't match any jay calls I can find online. It's always a single, consistent, three-part call, with none of the variety of sounds you usually get with crows or starlings.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's some random sound from something not remotely bird-like. That would be embarrassing.
posted by pipeski at 4:18 PM on June 24, 2020

Magpie? There's a call at the end of this YouTube that sounds to me sort of similar, although it's two part I think.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 5:12 PM on June 24, 2020

That's a really familiar call that I wouldn't bat an eyelid at, and I'd have said jackdaw without giving it a second thought... and now I'm having second thoughts, because I can't find anything on xeno-canto that sounds the same. This would not be the first time I've confidently misattributed a call!

Will be interested to know the answer, because whatever it is, for it to sound so ordinary to me, there must be one around here too ("here" being the centre of a small town in Kent). Which makes it likely to be some kind of corvid, gull or pigeon. Or a starling, as you say.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:30 AM on June 25, 2020

Could it be unusual because it's a juvenile's call? This is the time of year when the fledglings are out and about but still demanding to be fed by their parents.
posted by vincebowdren at 5:10 AM on June 26, 2020

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