Book launch imminent!

Book launch imminent!

The Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America will be available in stores on Tuesday, March 7!

Last Thursday I talked about the book with Mark Lynch of WICN – you can hear that interview online. Tomorrow morning (Sunday March 5), I’ll be interviewed live on Ray Brown’s show Talkin’ Birds, which is syndicated all over New England! Listen in at 9:30 AM Eastern.

I will be doing a lot of traveling this year to promote the book! Check my current list of events to see if you can catch me in your area. If you’d like me to speak to your group, just send me an email!

Stay tuned for more news and posts!

17 thoughts on “Book launch imminent!

  1. I love the book but…not sure the website for bird sounds is up and running? So far I can’t access it with link provided in the book.

  2. Nathan,

    Have had the book pre-ordered for half a year. Just recieved and am enjoying greatly. I am also looking forward to your appearance on the ABA podcast with Nate Swick.

  3. Nathan, very well done!! A fine achievment!! Enjoying my copy!!

    Jeff patterson,
    Austin, Texas

  4. Thanks, now I have the sounds. Fantastic. And I enjoyed your talk with Mark Lynch at WICN very much – shared it with my local birding group. Well done!

    Boxborough, MA

  5. Love the book, but I was wondering how you figure out what the frequency is for a trill that spans a range? Like the trill of a Grasshopper Sparrow for example.

  6. Hi Derek,

    Well, that’s a complicated question. Depends on whether you’re talking about frequency (how many vibrations per second are in the sound wave) or pitch (how high the trill sounds to the human ear). In the case of frequency, it makes sense to talk about mininum frequency, maximum frequency, and median frequency, all of which you can derive by looking at the frequency scale on the spectrogram. In the case of pitch, it’s complicated. For something like a Grasshopper Sparrow buzz, in which all the elements of the trill are chip- or ticklike, it’s impossible to assign one pitch to the sound. That is, it’s impossible to say which note on the piano the bird is singing, because the sound isn’t musical. (In fact, a good definition of an unmusical sound is one that can’t easily be assigned a pitch.) But you can tell that the buzz will be very high, because it’s near the top of the spectrogram.

    For a trill like the Dark-eyed Junco’s (bottom right p. 9 of the book), the pitch will be determined primarily by the frequency of that brief horizontal section of each repeated element, which is near 5 kHz. That is close to the frequency of the highest black key on a piano, so it will sound pretty high-pitched.

    I hope that answers your questions! If not, let me know, and I’ll take another stab at it.

  7. I was actually hoping that a frequency could be found from looking at a sonogram. The sound library even shows a dark-eyed junco with just the tick-like trill. The reason I ask is that I have many trill recordings and would like to be able to assign a pitch to them. Would the loudest part of the trill represent its pitch?

  8. Well, like I said, it’s complicated. Pitch is not the same as frequency; pitch is defined as the subjective impression of frequency. In other words, pitch is what your brain does with the signal that your ears send through the auditory nerve.

    The loudest frequency in a trill does have an impact on pitch perception. But the steepness of the elements probably has a larger impact. Pitch perception will be dominated by the most horizontal elements in a sound (assuming any are present). Many bird sounds, like the Dark-eyed Junco’s song, are highly variable, so the songs of different individuals (and, in fact, the different songtypes of a single individual) will have different frequencies, different pitches, different spectrogram shapes, and different levels of musicality.

    If you really want to assign pitches to different trills, then your best bet is to use your ears rather than your eyes. If you’re OK with using frequency as your classification criterion, then the spectrogram will tell you what you need to know (but as I indicated before, you’ll probably want to record those as a range from the min to the max, rather than as a single number).

    All this is my best guess on how to help you. I’m curious: how do you intend to apply this information? What are you hoping to do with the pitches you assign to your trill recordings?

  9. Just been studying the songs of the Grasshopper , Baird’s, Le Conte’s, and Savannah Sparrows for years and that’s always been a common problem for all of them. One number is just easier to analyze with. I am currently recording the trill frequency as a range (min/max) but I’ve always found that a little unsatisfying, and was hoping for some other path to follow.

  10. Something to consider Nathan: a checklist. Some users may wish to track what bird sounds they heard. The format could be like:

    American Woodcock: Peent __ Hiccup __ Twitter __ Chip Series __ Cackle __ Wheeze __ __
    A space is provided for the checkmark, a larger space is for additional sounds and a line is provided for special notes like interesting variations on a song.

  11. Nathan — I love it. Thanks! This is a huge amount of work, wonderfully done. I’ve been using the Warbler Guide to help me with IDing tricky songs that I’ve recorded and wishing I had the same for other groups… And now I do. Are there plans for a western edition?

  12. Indeed, Laura, I’m working on the western volume as we speak. I estimate it probably won’t be published until spring 2019.

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