|Mingo National Wildlife Refuge|
Recently I was privileged to host a group of Master Naturalists on Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. We started early one morning on the hunt for migratory birds. Serious birders can identify these songbirds by their songs and calls. I have learned to recognize a few by listening to the song. I heard "ee o lay" and knew it was the melodic sound of the Wood Thrush. Later I heard a familiar call, "drink your tee" from the Eastern Towhee.
During a lunch break one member of the group asked how to improve the skill of birding by ear. It helps if you can begin to recognize a bird you are sure to see in your area. Purchase a field guide and look for the range map of a songbird. Apps are available to help you hear the call and see pictures of birds. Audubon and others make cds that help you become familiar with the calls of songbirds. Going with birders to listen on a early morning walk can be a great way to get started. Don't be overwhelmed, start with a couple birds and add others as you become comfortable in your knowledge.