Program Information — Series 3 & 4
Click on a program in the right-hand column to see a description and program notes.

Vowel Sounds

Human singing is a useful analogy for how birds sing, though the analogy does have its limits. Songbirds' dual voicebox, the syrinx, can produce sounds much more complex than we can with our larynx. But in either case, the note that are sung get their unique character from the interaction of the voicebox and the airway above it.

The airway is important to the quality of sound. This is as true for human speech and singing as for birdsong.

In this program, we see how human vowel sounds are different because of the shape of the airway, not because they start with a different sound in our throats. This can help us appreciate how both human and bird singing have their distinctive sounds due to interactions between the sound produced in the larynx (for humans) or the syrinx (for birds) and the airway the sound passes through getting out into the environment.

The song of the brown-headed cowbird is from the CD collection Bird Songs of California produced by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

I slowed the cowbird's song by 4 times using Bias Peak.

Series 3
Egg Calls
Chick ID Calls
Chicken Calls
Vocal Tract
Syrinx Styles
Airway Model
Airway Overtones
Coiled Trachea
Beak & Airway
Vowels & Airway
Tuvan Throat Singing

Series 4
Size & Sound
Forest Soundscape
Grassland Soundscape
Bird Hearing
Local Dialects
Regional Dialects
Drumming - Woodpeckers Etc.
Bird Tongues
Bird Brains & Singing
Song Duels?
Dawn Chorus
Finale: Song Sparrow