About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, February 4, 2013

How birds communicate besides singing

The wings of the smallest hummingbirds can reach 100 beats per second during courtship displays. As their wings slice through the air, it produces a hum. The hummingbird gets its name from this sound.

Pigeons and Mourning Doves use a wing whistle noise to warn their flock about approaching enemies--the first example of a non-vocalized alarm call in birds. The source of the alarm noise may be a narrow outer feather on the pigeon's wing. A startled takeoff produces a faster tempo wing whistle that alerts the flock to danger.

Woodpeckers’ rigid tail and wing feathers produce a unique clacking sound in flight. No woodpecker produces a song, only calls. Most woodpeckers use drumming to communicate. You’ll hear an increase in woodpeckers banging their bill rapidly against wood, metal, or any surface that resonates, more and more as breeding season approaches. The drumming relays lots of information including the bird’s sex, health, availability, and right to a territory.

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