Video: Bird Alarm Calls

Backyard Bird’s Alarm Call Network

Real-time reports from backyard birds can give those around them advance warning to seek cover. Alarm calls can be wide-bandwidth, loud and short to attract birds from farther away to come mob a predator. Other calls can be shorter bandwidth, high-pitched “seets”that don’t travel as far as individual sounds, but spread quickly from bird to bird to warn of a predator on the move.

Beyond simply indicating the presence of a threat, researchers are learning that warning calls can contain messages about the type or level of threat. For example, scientist Erick Green at the University of Montana reported in the journal Science that a higher number of -dees in a chickadee’s call translated to a higher, more serious threat.

Take a look at the following video for some examples of alarm calls you may hear in your backyard.