Resources for Learning Bird Sounds

Cover of Bird Song Tutor“A Birdsong Tutor for Visually Handicapped Individuals” by Lang Elliott, (DB 29485), is available from the National Library Service for the Blind (NLS). It provides a wonderful introduction to bird and animal sounds of the eastern United States and Canada.




The Hadley School for the Blind offers a free correspondence course called A Birdsong Tutor, (CRE-201). The course focuses on listening skills, tips for remembering what birds make which sounds, and what birds might be heard in various habitats.


Cover of birding by ear

There are many accessible audio CD sets on the market designed to teach bird sounds. Birding by Ear and More Birding by Ear by Richard K. Walton and Robert W. Lawson are among my favorites. They are available from most birding supply stores or through Amazon and other online resources. The authors categorize birds by the kinds of sounds they make, such as “high-pitchers”, “Sing-songers”, birds with simple songs, birds with more complex or varied songs, etc. 


Bird singingIf you have an iPhone or iPad and want to be able to quickly look up a bird and hear what it sounds like, I recommend BirdTunes by Lang Elliott, an iOS app available from the App Store. It is VoiceOver friendly and very easy to use. There are many other very good birding apps on the market also.




Cornell University offers an excellent online birding resource called All About Birds, as well as an excellent bird identification app called Merlin Bird ID. While it is not completely VoiceOver-friendly, it can be very useful Merlin Bird ID appto a sighted person who sees a bird and wants to identify it. You enter details such as approximate size and shape, coloration, habitat and time of year, and the app presents you with pictures of birds candidates to choose from.


If you simply want to find out what a specific bird sounds like, try using an online search engine such as Google. A search for “robin sound” is sure to yield the “Cheer up Cheerily” song of the American Robin. Happy spring, and happy birding!




Read more about: Science, Life Science, STEM