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All around us, all the time, the birds are telling us who they are and what they are doing. In this talk, Nathan Pieplow, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds, unlocks the secrets of their language. You’ll listen in on the pillow talk of a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds and learn the secret signals that Cliff Swallows use when they have found food. You’ll learn how one bird sound can have many meanings and how one meaning can have many sounds—and how, sometimes, the meaning isn’t in the sounds at all.
About Nathan Pieplow
Growing up in South Dakota, Nathan got started identifying bird songs by studying the classic “Birding By Ear” field guides in the Peterson series. It wasn’t until 2003, when he faced the frustrations of studying sounds for his first trips to Mexico and Costa Rica, that Nathan became dedicated to finding new and better ways to learn, describe, and catalog bird sounds. Along the way he became a sound recordist and an amateur ethologist (a student of animal behavior).
Nathan does not identify as one of those superhuman beings who can identify every singing bird, or discern the nocturnal flight call of a Blackpoll Warbler as it passes overhead in the dark. His high-frequency hearing is getting worse every year, and he don’t have a great auditory memory. For him to learn bird sounds, he wanted more resources: more recordings, better glossaries, deeper discussions. So he set out to create his own resources.