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This CD-ROM covers the identification of flight calls of migratory landbirds (passerines and near-passerines) in Eastern North America. The 211 species included are those that occur regularly east of a line from western Manitoba to eastern Texas as well as selected species occurring primarily in the center of the continent but not in the west. Not all species covered in this guide are known to give flight calls.
The purpose of this guide is twofold. First, it is for the enjoyment and utility of advanced birders who wish to improve their ability to identify flight calls. Second, it is our intent to provide a preliminary foundation for the identification of nocturnal flight calls. Specifically, we hope this reference guide will stimulate researchers to explore monitoring nocturnal flight calls as a tool for studying movements and populations of migratory birds.
In this guide we also make a preliminary effort to characterize the migratory behavior of each species. For many species, very little has been written about migratory behavior and the information we present is based primarily on our own observations. We hope our discussions will stimulate further study and clarification of the intriguing and varied migration behavior of birds.
The evolution of this guide is deep-rooted. It is the culmination of more than fifteen years of field recording and study. Our collaborative work began in 1991 as a pursuit of the identities of warbler and sparrow night flight calls. Initially our goal was to produce a tape or CD audio guide to warbler and sparrow flight calls, building on the Catharus thrush night flight call cassette tape that Evans had produced in 1990. However, with progress in identifying species such as Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Bicknell’s Thrush, and with the thrush tape out of print, there was a need to treat the thrushes again and our vision expanded to a guide to night flight calls of migrant landbirds. As we proceeded further, we began to realize that many species that seem to be predominantly diurnal migrants also occasionally migrate and vocalize at night. We then found it hard to decide in some cases what species to include on a nocturnal flight call guide. This, combined with the difficulty in confirming the identity of night flight calls, led us to expand our coverage to include all migratory landbirds in eastern North America and to make the primary focus on flight calls in general. Specifically, we aimed to provide an archive of diurnal flight calls where the birds were visually identified in order to help confirm our recordings and tentative identifications of flight calls from unseen nocturnal migrants.
With changes in technology during the course of our endeavor, it became apparent that a CD-ROM guide would be a more valuable tool for learning flight calls than an audio CD. We hope you will enjoy and benefit from this production and we welcome your comments and suggestions at email@example.com or P.O. Box 46 Mecklenburg, NY 14863.