Townsend’s Solitaires at Devil’s Lake State Park

The “normal” wintering range of Townsend’s Solitaire only extends as far east as eastern Nebraska. However, they are regularly found further east where the food supply is suitable. One such place is Devil’s Lake State Park in Sauk County, WI. The abundant supply of Eastern Red Cedar and the rocky terrain have attracted solitaires almost yearly since they were first reported in 1980.

I visited on Nov. 27, 2010 and obtained recordings of three of the solitaire’s vocalizations.

The whistle call is the most frequently given call. It is a regular series of short clear ringing whistles.
Townsend's Solitaire Whistle Call
Townsend's Solitaire Whistle Call

 

Townsend’s Solitaires are territorial on their wintering grounds, and often sing, sometimes full song but sometimes only a subdued “whisper song” version.
Here is an example of the “whisper song”.
Townsend's Solitaire Song
Townsend's Solitaire Song

 

There is a less commonly heard call that BNA Online refers to as the “waa” call, and which it says is only given on the wintering grounds “in context of interspecific territoriality”. That is exactly the context that I heard it in, as the bird was chasing cedar waxwings out of its cedar tree at the time I made this recording.
Townsend's Solitaire Scolding Calls
Townsend's Solitaire Scolding Calls

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