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Night bird call, UK (1 Viewer)

villager

Well-known member
Hi all,
this might be a really obvious one, but I'm listening to a bird call at the moment that I haven't heard before.

I live on the edge of a village, and from the farmland beyond our houses there's a repeated call - quite loud - like a "whop-whop-whop-whop-whop-whop" (seems to be six syllables each times) rising in pitch with each turn. It almost sounds like the blades of a helicopter, or that sound effect you get on TV when someone throws a rapidly spinning object. I'm sure it's something quite common, but I've never heard it before in the six years I've lived here...
 

deborah4

Well-known member
Might be worth checking if any Mute Swan have turned up overnight in the fields when you get up tomorrow! (sounds like the wing flight noise ie. their wings make a very loud 'whoop whoop whoop whoop in flight, changing pitch as they ascend/descend/move away or towards you)
 
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villager

Well-known member
Yes - I regularly see swans in flight over our house (there's quite a bit of water nearby), and that's actually not far off the noise that I'm hearing - however, groups of nocturnal flying swans seems a bit unlikely, and it's also stationary (it was still going as of 2 mins ago when I popped out for a ciggie). I'm wondering if it's not actually a bird at all.
 

deborah4

Well-known member
Yes - I regularly see swans in flight over our house (there's quite a bit of water nearby), and that's actually not far off the noise that I'm hearing - however, groups of nocturnal flying swans seems a bit unlikely, and it's also stationary (it was still going as of 2 mins ago when I popped out for a ciggie). I'm wondering if it's not actually a bird at all.

It's not unusual for swan to fly nocturnally - perhaps something's spooked them like a fox? However, if the noise is stationary, the call of Whooper Swan is also similar to what you are describing, a loud 'Whoop Whoop'' .... trumpeting call (Trumpet Swan in the States!). They also remain protective of their young during the first winter, so that could initiate an anxious flock.

Anyway, just one idea, others may have different suggestions


I wondered too whether perhaps it wasn't a bird ..... now I need a ciggie ;).
 
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deborah4

Well-known member
Just one other quick thought, although the sound may appear to be stationary ie. coming from the same spot, it may actually not be the same bird - a group of swans coming into land in the same place, could also give that impression , if you are stationary! ie. Usually one only hears the loudest beats at the closest points to you, could easily only be 6 syllables for each bird as a flock comes down to land one after the other depending on the distance between you and the flock and the direction they are coming in from.
 
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Tree Sparrow

Well-known member
Could it be a snipe drumming? It's normally spring when they do it and I've no idea if they actually do it at night although they commonly do it at dusk. The RSPB site has a recording of it.

TS
 

Ken Hall

Well-known member
Might be worth checking if any Whooper Swan have turned up overnight in the fields when you get up tomorrow! (sounds like the wing flight noise ie. their wings make a very loud 'whoop whoop whoop whoop in flight, changing pitch as they ascend/descend/move away or towards you)

Sorry to disagree with you Deborah on this point. ;) Mute Swans wing beats are very audible, Whooper Swans wing beats are almost silent. Sorry I can't shed any light on the mystery though.
 

rockfowl

Mark Andrews
It's true, wild swan wing beats are very silent, not so Mutes which you can generally hear coming from some distance. Graham's suggestion seams rather plausible..
 

villager

Well-known member
Hi, I listened to a recording of Snipe drumming and it's not really close to that. I think as someone said above it's either a Tawny Owl (we have numerous ones nearby) or some agricultural machinery.

The noise was certainly very close to Mute Swan flying, except repeated in a similar pattern over and over again, with that ascending tone.

Having said that, I've got my recorder ready for tonight if necessary!
 

deborah4

Well-known member
Sorry to disagree with you Deborah on this point. ;) Mute Swans wing beats are very audible, Whooper Swans wing beats are almost silent. Sorry I can't shed any light on the mystery though.

Of course they are Ken, don't apologise. ;) If you see the reason for my edit on that post, made very late indeed and after a very tiring day, I'd originally put 'Mute', then for some reason, changed it to Whooper! At 1.35am in the morning I wasn't at my best! Of course it was the sound of the wings of a Mute I was referring with regard to the wing beat to but the sound of Whoopers' call in the following post.

I'm still wondering whether it wasn't a bird too! Hope you manage to record the sound Villager!
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Could it be that eccentric australian geezer who did animal hospital and sang songs about 2 little boys etc (he was quite arty too . . .)

He had a penchant for making strange noises that sounded something like that on occasion . . . ;)
 

villager

Well-known member
I was pointed towards this.
Female Tawny Owl
From about 0:11 onwards, that's pretty close, except mine was softer and not as shrill (further away?). And we do have Tawny Owls in the woods behind our houses, as we're used to hearing their more common calls.
 
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JonnyTweet

New member
Whoop, whoop, whoop call

I had exactly the same call at night back in April May near Whitstable and then again, the first week of August at Roundhill campsite in the New Forest, UK.

This was 5 whoops in the call, increasing in pitch each time.
Had no response for ideas from the RSPB website. With the help of the campsite manager we tracked it down to being a Hoopoe. The manager had friends who had sited it a while ago. Listening to audio it makes exactly the same call just varying in the number of whoops.

www.xeno-canto.org/34580

All the best, Jonny
 
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