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Robin or Cardinal?
Listening to their Songs



As the spring chorus of birdsong begins, some observers think they hear an early robin when they are actually hearing the Northern Cardinal. Listen to their different songs:

American Robin

Northern Cardinal

Image: Randy Indish
Image: Randy Indish
American Robin
Northern Cardinal

Typical Song
Dawn Song

Recording: Lang Elliott

Robin Songs and Sounds
Male robins sing songs as
warnings to keep other males out of their territory and as invitations to attract a female. Songs are different from other sounds, which are called notes, calls, and chips, depending on their structure and the volume at which they are delivered. Unlike songs, other notes seem to serve purposes such as maintaining contact with flock mates or as a warning of danger. For descriptions and audio clips, explore:


 

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