This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of The National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.


This is BirdNote.

Blackbird songs have a strange music. The Red-winged Blackbird can be heard in nearly every marsh on the continent, bold, brassy, and piercing. The songs may not seem terribly musical, but they definitely get your attention. 

Brewer’s Blackbirds, which live in open habitats like farms and grasslands, have one of the most abrupt songs of any bird—a wet, slap-in-the-face sound. Yeah, that was it. Listen again.

And what sounds like a snarling cat fight are the combined voices of Tricolored Blackbirds in a California marsh. 

Equally arresting are the raucous growls, wails, and whistles of another Western bird, the Yellow-headed Blackbird. Which on close listen, isn’t that far from the song we started with—the Red-Winged Blackbird.

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.



Written by Bob Sundstrom

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. 191788 recorded by Bob McGuire, 120237 recorded by Geoffrey A Keller, 205795 recorded by Gregory F Budney, and 164690 recorded by Gerrit Vyn.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

© 2017 Tune In to Nature 

June 2017   ID# blackbird-03-2017-06-30 

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