Special 10-Minute California Bird Talk Sampler
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I prepared this special 10-minute California Bird Talk program for the November 2006 meetings of the AAA (American Anthropological Association). The session was titled "A Multispecies Salon" and raised questions about the interactions of many species.

This program is a kind of sampler of California Bird Talk. Most of the material and bird sounds can be heard in one or another of the four California Bird Talk series programs. I tried to pick material that would give a coherent overview of the whole series.

The program begins with a lovely dawn chorus of many birds recorded along the Carmel River. Picking calls and songs out of the chorus, I explain the differences between the two kind of bird communication. After a brief exploration of birds' vocal range and what they themselves might hear, I slow down a call and a song to approximate what the birds are hearing. Then I introduce the question of how songbirds are able to make the sounds they do. After briefly describing the syrinx, I use slowed down versions of two songs to demonstrate the internal duets some songbirds can sing using independent control of the two branches of their Y-shaped syrinx. I explore song repertoires using a recording of "matched countersinging" (sometimes called a "song duel") by two marsh wrens. The program concludes with an exploration of the song-like role of the wonderful drumming of male and female woodpeckers and sapsuckers.

Chris Tenney recorded the Carmel River dawn chorus and bird calls that open the program as well as most of the individual bird songs and calls I slow down in this program. (Tenney recorded most of the bird songs and calls presented in all four California Bird Talk series.)

Other songs and calls in this sampler can be found on the CD collection Bird Songs of California produced by the Cornell Ornithology Lab or on the CD accompanying the Cornell Lab's textbook Handbook of Bird Biology (including, notably, Joe Brazie's recording of the California marsh wrens' "song duel").

I slowed the calls and songs down by 4 to 16 times using Bias Peak and used Sound Soap to scrub noise from some recordings.