We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have had two or three expert birder companions in my life who had musical talent. You could take them for a hike without binocs or anything, and they would point and identify everything they heard.
Sad to say, I lack a musical brain, and my memory for bird songs and bird calls is weak and requires constant refreshment. It's funny, but some things stick to my brain like Crazy Glue and some sorts of things do not.
If birding is one of your hobbies (birding/hiking), you know that you hear far more than you can see. It's fun to see, because you get the idea of a species' habits. But if identification matters to you, sound is easier than straining your neck to find a Vireo in the top of an oak tree.
I've considered birding without ever looking at anything. Sitting on a log, say, during Spring migration and just listening for an hour or two. I know that I would be exasperated.
Can you readily tell a Rose Breasted Grosbeak from a Robin or an Oriole? And those are easy.
I'm fairly musical, and have a great deal of difficulty recognising birdsong. Because those who have the talent also practice, they believe that practice alone will suffice and those others just aren't trying hard enough. But I now think it is hardwired. Non-verbal memory pops up in lots of places. It's not part of IQ testing, but perhaps it should be.
Assistant Village Idiot
I turkey hunt in the spring and much of that is listening thus you can't help but hear all the other birds. Now knowing what all those calls are and who they belong to is another story some I know by hart and others I dont and still others I am constantly relearning. I cant carry a tune in a bucket so that may be the cause of my problem.
I have been into nature since I could walk as a child. I have always paid attention to the bird calls and if I hear one I don't recognize I look to try and find the bird making the call. We live in the woods and I pretty much know all the different birds sounds and when I hear one that isn't usually there I know it is a migrating or lost bird or two just passing through. I agree that listening to recordings of bird calls will help you recognize and remember who makes the call when out in the woods birding or just enjoying nature. Our six month old puppy is just getting used to hearing all the bird sounds. Interesting to see how she responds to their songs.