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Strategies for Finding Singing Birds in the Canopy (1 Viewer)

MMcD

Active member
United States
I’m curious to hear what strategies folks use for locating a singing bird in the forest canopy.

This morning, I spent a while trying to find a yellow-throated vireo in a mature, mixed oak forest, but I came away empty handed. I could hear his song (over and over, as it were), and I often felt like I’d narrowed down the area, but I never saw him move and couldn’t pin him down.

I’ll often cup my hands around my ears and hold my head at different positions to try to narrow it down, but that’s only sometimes helpful.

Does anyone have any tricks they use?
 
I've learned that one way to find a singing bird in a canopy is to physically change your angle of view, by walking to another spot around the tree. The bird may be just behind a branch. I was able to see a cuckoo (a koel) that way :)
 
Changing your angle is good, and getting the most unobstructed view. Generally it's a matter of just looking and waiting to see movement. As you get more experienced you should be able to spot movement quicker and get your bins on it faster. Vireos can be hard because they aren't as active as some other birds. But just keep watching.
 
Changing your angle is good, and getting the most unobstructed view. Generally it's a matter of just looking and waiting to see movement. As you get more experienced you should be able to spot movement quicker and get your bins on it faster. Vireos can be hard because they aren't as active as some other birds. But just keep watching.
Yep. Once I get a bit of movement, I’m good to go… but like you said, these Yellow-throated Vireos don’t move around as much as many other birds. They’ve been giving me grief this year.

I was just curious if anyone had any clever tricks that they use (I often find myself fantasizing about having a directional mic)
 
I've learned that one way to find a singing bird in a canopy is to physically change your angle of view, by walking to another spot around the tree. The bird may be just behind a branch. I was able to see a cuckoo (a koel) that way :)
Yep. I’ve picked up many a tick this way! 😅
 

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