Jazz Bird in the Neighborhood

So today I got to mow the lawn! (Trying on the Timothy Leary “Life is an opportunity” approach to this chore.) I got to be outside in our BIG backyard. I got to walk, bend, push, lift and carry – all great functional exercise. I got to observe butterflies and birds gracefully fluttering around me. It was cool and overcast, so all in all an enjoyable experience.

AND —- I got a huge gift for doing this. As I was mowing the front yard, I kept hearing this bird call that sounded like the first four notes of a jazz standard that I like. Over and over, this bird sang this little intro and my brain voice would fill in the rest. I thought, “I need to go get my digital recorder and catch this sample. Ohhhh, but as soon as I do that, the bird will be gone.” So I continued mowing.

Later, while I was taking a hydration break in the house, I heard the bird again. I thought, “Dang, now is my opportunity.” I ran in my studio, grabbed the Zoom, went outside on the porch and captured this:

Isn’t that cool? I love that the bird is singing the beginning of…what is the song? I can’t identify it. It has a similar tonality to “My Blue Heaven”, but the melody pattern is not right for the beginning of that song. Here it is lined up the way it goes in the song. It repeats and then changes slightly the third phrase (of course, the bird did not change, so you are hearing just the first two iterations):

So I need your help. Can anyone tell me what song this bird is singing? Can anyone identify the bird? I never got a sighting on him either. Thanks for your input.

6 thoughts on “Jazz Bird in the Neighborhood

    • Maybe that was a creative young one just learning the call. It sure is more melodically sophisticated than the song sparrows I am hearing on line. Thanks for the ID, Jill.


  1. Jill Soha says:

    It actually sounds normal to me (maybe even on the simple side for this species). Each male song sparrow sings 8-12 song types, with variants within each type … they’re quite sophisticated in general. I’ve been spending much time analyzing song sparrow song these past few years. But I remain of no help with the name of the jazz tune!


    • After listening to several examples of Song Sparrows on Youtube, I decided this guy is rather sophisticated, not a youngster. I heard one example that came close to the melody of this bird, most of them sounded more mechanical and less melodic. I was so focused on the riff I was hearing that I did not hear the tail end of the call. I think he will have very good luck at the mating game. He is a catch!


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