Frank Chapman and the Solitaire

The Christmas Bird Count founder's favorite bird call.

This story comes to you through a partnership between Audubon and BirdNote, a show that airs daily on public radio stations nationwide.


What’s your choice for most beautiful bird song?

Frank M. Chapman, a leading ornithologist in the 1880s and the father of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, knew the songs of many birds. He was Curator of Birds at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History and the author of many books on ornithology.  And he conducted field research in Central and South America. So it’s not surprising then that Chapman’s choice for the most beautiful bird song of all comes from the Mexican cloud forest: the slate-colored solitaire.

To fully appreciate the song, Chapman suggested that it be slowed so the notes can be heard more clearly.

And sometimes it’s good for us to slow down and listen to our favorite bird song.

If your favorite bird isn’t singing right now, chances are you can hear it online at

Audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Slate-colored Solitaire recorded by C.D. Duncan.
Slate-colored Solitaire song at less than half-speed by Kessler Productions.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to           June 2013