By Larry Teague
Many common North American birds are quick to scold humans when we cross into their territory. In the wild, they just as apt to sound off at animals that venture too close, including white-tailed deer, alerting you to their presence.
Angry birds might be a misnomer, but they are distressed. Their cries serve to alert their mates and others in their clan to danger.
Some birds even have different alarm calls for different types of threats, researchers have found.
One of the most vocal birds from east Texas to Maine is the pileated woodpecker. Its kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk is unmistakable and carries long distances.
American crows also react to intrusion, although not with the intensity they reserve for hawks and owls. Their call repertoire includes rattles, creaks, krakohs, uh-ohs and even a bell-like sound.
Bluejays are members of the crow family and also are quite vocal. The jay’s distress call, jeeer-jeeer ... jeeeer, jeeeer, jeeeer, is the one most people associate with these birds.
When you hear a merry teakettle, teakettle, teakettle, you know a Carolina wren is nearby. These long-tailed runts belt out a raspy scolding when threatened.
Identifying birds, trees, insects and other wild things is a great way to pass time in a tree stand or ground blind. Hunters are often glassing with binoculars. They only need a guidebook for reference.
Hunter-naturalists used to carry guidebooks with them to the blind. Now, there are guidebook apps that can be downloaded to smartphones. With some apps, you can also report your sightings for a life list — the easiest way to keep track of birds you’ve seen.
The Audubon Guide Box Set, which costs $14.95, includes trees, flowers and mammals as well as birds. All can be identified by shape, family or name.
Multiple recordings are included as well as color photographs of each bird listed.