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View Full Version : Do any bird species whistle like guys do when spotting curvaceous women?


Ken
04-06-2010, 02:50 AM
... I'm writing a comedic caper. It's all done, but for a final detail. I need the name of two species of birds that whistle or tweet similarly to the way some guys do at curvaceous women who are passing by, granted there are birds who even do so.

It doesn't have to be a precise match, but just in the ballpark or even vaguely similar. It would also be cool if one of the species had a slightly funny sounding name or an overly long and serious sounding one that would make for an ironic effect; e.g. yellow-bellied sap sucker. (Think this one comes from a board game?) One thing that is necessary is that the species be native to North America.

Thanks in advance, and my apologies for posting such a silly inquiry. The tale, itself, is a fairly good one, so I want to get all the details right.

(ps And of course it ain't cool for guys to whistle at gals who are passing by.)

pps I guess the spellled-out sound of the whistle would go something like: whhheee, wuuuu.

mscelina
04-06-2010, 03:00 AM
Mockingbird. *shrug* That's doubly funny. You want humor? Just think about it. Could also be any variety of escaped bird like a parrot or a macaw who's been taught how to whistle like that by its former master and now just hangs out in the park whistling at chicks so they'll turn around and slap the guy behind them.

Chris P
04-06-2010, 03:08 AM
Cardinals sort of do, but I think it sounds more like "Thank you": "thank yoooooooou. Thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou." According to a mini documentary on YouTube, because their songs are learned, the song varies by region, and this is how I remember them singing in Iowa.

Mockingbirds can also make all sorts of interesting sounds.

waylander
04-06-2010, 04:10 AM
Mynah bird?

Shadow_Ferret
04-06-2010, 04:15 AM
Only wolves whistle like that.

thothguard51
04-06-2010, 04:21 AM
My Spectacle Amazon parrot does the wolf whistle all the time when any female walks into the room. He will not do it for men...

I taught him well...

Sarpedon
04-06-2010, 04:43 AM
The lyrebird will imitate any sound that it hears, including other bird calls, car alarms, sirens, chainsaws, motors, and, presumably, lustful men.

Ken
04-06-2010, 04:52 AM
... thanks everyone. Mockingbirds are definite candidate. I couldn't used an escaped bird as these have to just be about the place naturally. And there are also lots of them. But that's a good idea! I'll keep Cardinals who say 'thank you' in mind for a future source of humor. I think the bird may also be too common of a one to work in his present tale. If readers aren't altogether familiar with the species they may just be willing to take my word for it that they whistle like some guys do. Great thing about writing humor is that you can get away with some factual inaccuracies, so long as they aren't glaring. Will look up Mynahs. Sure sounds funny all right :-D And that's funny too about wolves. You may be right about that. Arrrroooo. And I'll also look up lyrebirds. I love the name. I think it might be ideal, though, if the birds sung their whhooo wuuuu's naturally, rather than imitating lustful men in view of the plot. Neat parrot Thoth. Must cause many smiles.

edt: Hmm, maybe Cardinals will do vvv

AnnieColleen
04-06-2010, 05:04 AM
Cardinals: I've always heard their call as "pretty bird, pretty bird". Two quick notes and then a slightly longer, lower one. But then any birdcall described with words is going to be an approximation.

Gary
04-06-2010, 05:40 AM
There is a shorebird found in the prairie states that has a call exactly like a slow, drawn-out "wolf whistle". I was never able to positively identify the bird, but I think it was an upland sandpiper.
You can listen to the call here: http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/422/overview/Upland_Sandpiper.aspx

Ken
04-06-2010, 05:51 AM
... wow, Gary. Pipers sure do! My tale is set in the country, but I may still be able to work sandpipers in somehow. I just found some candidates, myself, while researching the songs Cardinals make. Black-capped Chicadees and Whip-poor-wills make songs that are similar to "wolf-whistles."

http://www.nhest.org/birdguid.html

I think they fit the bill. So consider this OP resolved. Thanks again, everyone!

Polenth
04-06-2010, 06:05 AM
The first birds I thought about were whistling ducks. However, the ones I saw (and heard) weren't a North American species.

The North American species is the black-bellied whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis). Which I believe has a call similar to what you want, but I've not actually heard it.

Ken
04-06-2010, 06:18 AM
... and I may be able to work ducks in, too. Nice long name. Thanks :-)
Very interesting too about the Latin name for them.
May have to explore that alternative.

Gary
04-06-2010, 05:52 PM
... wow, Gary. Pipers sure do! My tale is set in the country, but I may still be able to work sandpipers in somehow.


The country is where you find them. I lived twelve miles from the nearest town in farm country. We had a small lake on our farm that might have been an attraction, but the birds I recall were always a short distance from the water. They would perch on a fencepost, usually in the evening, and repeat the whistle about once a minute.

FWIW, I never heard the twittering that preceded the wolf whistle in the recording, or at least I didn't associate it with the same bird. It was always just the whistle, and it sounded very human.

Ms Hollands
04-07-2010, 03:27 PM
The lyrebird will imitate any sound that it hears, including other bird calls, car alarms, sirens, chainsaws, motors, and, presumably, lustful men.


Damn! You got in before me. A lyrebird at Healesville Sanctuary amused my French partner last year when it was trying to impress a female lyrebird with two different phone ringtones and some techno music that someone must have played to it to mimic. They will mimic *anything*! Really entertaining bird.

johnnysannie
04-07-2010, 04:20 PM
Cardinals sort of do, but I think it sounds more like "Thank you": "thank yoooooooou. Thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou." According to a mini documentary on YouTube, because their songs are learned, the song varies by region, and this is how I remember them singing in Iowa.

Mockingbirds can also make all sorts of interesting sounds.

Here in Missouri, I - and many others - think of cardinals as singing "pretty, pretty, pretty"....maybe closer to what the OP is seeking!

Ken
04-07-2010, 06:27 PM
... was neat looking up the birds mentioned here, which got me to arrive at the one I selected: Whippoorwills. Thanks! Cardinals are interesting and might've been a good candidate, but for one thing. The birds in my story have to remain unseen. And it would be hard to imagine the MC overlooking bright red birds. Cardinals are neat, though. Got a fair amount of them by me.

Libbie
04-08-2010, 08:21 PM
White-faced whistling ducks sound exactly like the stereotypical "wolf whistle." Plus they are super-cute.

I've never heard a sandpiper's call myself, but I've heard it sounds like a "sexy whistle." Some tragopans (Chinese chicken-like birds) have a similar call, too. But not as accurate, IMO, as the white-faced whistling duck.

CarlP
04-08-2010, 08:26 PM
I had a parrot when I was in college who would whistle, click, and say, "Hey, baby, give me a kiss." A guy that lived on my floor told me that he walked out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and my parrot did that just as girl passed by.

That was pretty funny. :D

Matera the Mad
04-10-2010, 08:33 AM
I've got cardinals, and I never heard one do a wolf-whistle. They go "what-cheer!" I'd vote for a starling with lots of experience. They are said to be pretty good imitators. And flippin' ubiquitous.

Ken
04-10-2010, 09:08 AM
.. thanks Libbie. Will definitiely check out the sound of ducks you mention. Check out the link in Gary's post for the sound of Pipers. Amazingly alike, too! That's a riot, Carl :-D Starlings were actually my first choice before happening upon Whippoorwills, Matera. The name of the later sold me on them. Plus they also make this grunty sound before their whistles which should mock guys in general who whistle as such, granted any readers are familiar with the song of this species. I sent out the finished story on Thursday to two mags. Will report back here if it makes print by some miracle ;-)

AnkleSneeze
04-29-2010, 07:27 AM
I have a cockatiel that actually makes that whistle and leads to some fun around our house.

Chumplet
04-29-2010, 07:34 AM
I vote for the European Starling, makes lots of whistle and gate squeaking sounds. And it's wild.

thothguard51
04-29-2010, 07:58 AM
Yes, cockatiels are another that can imitate the wolf whistle if its been taught to do so. (Most professionals will tell you never to teach a talking bird to whistle because they will do that easier than talk.)

As to birds in the wild, no matter the species, they imitate common sounds around them and not everyone will hear the same call. Look at the differences member in this group have about the cardinals calls.

The thing is, a wild bird doing the wolf whistle and someone understanding its a wolf whistle would have had to be exposed to this call - alot. So in the story, if your going for a something funny, mocking birds, minor birds, cockatiels and parrots all could imitate the wolf whistle and there would be no misunderstanding what it was.

Chumplet
04-29-2010, 08:02 AM
Oh! I forgot! The common crow can mimic. I saw one sitting on a fence, making noises that sounded almost like talking. It may have been a former pet, but it was definitely a crow.

ETA: you can always use its Latin name if you want to get fancy.

Xelebes
05-02-2010, 05:46 AM
The parrot my parents had before I was born would whistle at my mom whenever she saw her naked running from the bathroom to her bedroom.

L.C. Blackwell
05-02-2010, 07:09 AM
Cardinals have a very sweet liquid warble. It's lovely to listen to, but I don't think you could confuse it with any noise a human being would make. Mockingbirds, on the other hand....

thothguard51
05-02-2010, 08:35 AM
Yes, crows can mimic human speech. We had one as a pet when I was a kid. While its never as clear as a parrot or other speech capable bird, its pretty close.

I have also heard some people say if you have a crows tongue split, it can talk. But I am not sure if that is an old wives tale or not...

Libbie
05-03-2010, 08:27 PM
Yes, it's an old wives' tale.

Crows can do pretty good mimicry of simple speech, but their voices do not sound anything like human voices. Lots of birds can mimic speech -- starlings are actually really good at it. Few birds can both talk like a human and whistle, though. Birds use an organ called a syrinx to make their sounds. It's the equivalent of a human larynx. Depending on the species, the syrinx may not be structured in such a way as to accommodate both whistles and more human-sounding vocalizations.

Some birds that are extremely good mimics of almost any sound include mynahs and birds of paradise, and of course certain parrots are great at mimicry. African grays are especially good at it. If you're looking for a native bird sitting in a tree, though, and your story is set in North America, you're not going to find many. An escaped African gray would probably be your best bet. They are at least common pets, while mynahs and birds of paradise are rare.

A starling might be able to whistle -- I've never heard one do it, though. They are accomplished talkers, though, and are common all over Europe and North America. Check out this video of a talking starling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtQCHD1TuHo You can see that he does a really good job of mimicking the basic sounds of his owner's voice, including her laugh and the sound of her sniffing with a runny nose, but his words aren't particularly clear, and they have a crackly, static-radio kind of sound to them due to the structure of his syrinx.