Even though birds are more often heard than seen, traditional bird identification books typically devote most space to visual identification. If you have seen the bird, your identification might be faster using our Bird Finder: Find by Sight to find one or more birds that match some set of visual characteristics. But if you've only heard the bird, this page might be able to help.
BirdFinder's database currently includes 160,168 sounds and sonograms for 17,725 of the 58,520 birds on this site.
Sonograms -- also called spectrograms or spectral waterfalls -- are visual representations of sound. There is no "official" format for a sonogram. As Wikipedia points out, "There are many variations of format: sometimes the vertical and horizontal axes are switched, so time runs up and down; sometimes the amplitude is represented as the height of a 3D surface instead of color or intensity. The frequency and amplitude axes can be either linear or logarithmic, depending on what the graph is being used for. Audio would usually be represented with a logarithmic amplitude axis (probably in decibels, or dB), and frequency would be linear to emphasize harmonic relationships, or logarithmic to emphasize musical, tonal relationships."
Click on to play the recording. Click on to control the volume. You may play multiple recordings simultaneously. This will often provide a better sense of the sounds of a given species than will listening to one recording at a time.
If you think you have found the bird of interest, click on its scientific name, which will take you to our pages about this bird. More detailed information about each recording is available within the ZipcodeZoo pages for that species. Click on any sonogram to see a larger version of it.
Most sounds on this page derive from http://www.xeno-canto.org, are copyright by their recordists, and are licensed under a Creative Commons license. The name of the recordist appears when you mouseover the sonogram and in the audioplayer's display when the recording is playing.