Program Information — Series 3 & 4
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Chicken Calls
Streaming Audio


Ground-feeding birds like pheasants, quail, turkeys, and the domestic chicken live in highly structured and intensely social flocks. They forage together and are in constant communication about their whereabouts and their moods. It should come as no surprise that they have a very large repertoire of calls, which may be twice the size of the call repertoire of most songbirds.

Domestic chickens, when not raised on industrial farms in tiny cages, use up to 18 different calls among each other. They have separate calls warning of flying predators and predators approaching on the ground. The have several contact calls as well as calls signaling food location, brooding activity, annoyance, and more.

Many galliform birds recognize the calls of other galliform species.

Chris Tenney recorded the Swainson's thrush near the Carmel River.

The California quail and ring-necked pheasant calls are from the CD collection Bird Songs of California produced by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

The chicken calls are from the first of two CDs accompanying the excellent, academic book Nature's Music: The Science of Birdsong, edited by Peter Marler and Hans Slabbekoorn.

The rooster's crow begins the Beatles' "Good Morning", found on their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.