what sound does a robin bird make

An American Robin heralds the coming of spring. Photo Credit Photo by William H. Majoros via Wikimedia Commons

#5 The Dog-Whistle Call/Alarm

The thin, high-pitched call of the dog whistle usually signals the approach of aerial predators.

This call may be difficult for some people to hear. Gaining the ability to tune your ears takes some practice.

This call is most commonly used, in my observation, when crows, ravens,

Once you get the hang of it, it’s surprisingly common, and you might be surprised at how many aerial predators you’re likely missing out on.

Please play the following recording at a low volume first; increase it only if necessary. Be advised that if you turn up the volume too high, the high frequencies of this alarm sound could cause hearing damage.

It may never reach you if you already have hearing loss, but most people should be able to hear it quite easily.

Recently, I heard this sound in my neighborhood near the edge of a very large silent area.

Further out the birds were singing and chirping away. Then, right in the middle of the quiet, I noticed a tiny aerial predator—possibly a merlin—flying across the street.

The zone of alarm was astoundingly HUGE.

I might have assumed it was a quiet evening if it weren’t for the dog-whistles of a nearby robin and the abrupt return of songbird activity farther away.

Although it can be difficult to get used to, this is really awesome.

#4 The Robin Song

The robin song, though not strictly a call, is undoubtedly a common sound produced by robins that everyone should be familiar with.

If you go outside before first light to witness the dawn chorus, you’ll often hear one of the first sounds of the day in many locations:

It should be noted that several other birds have similar-sounding songs, but you should be able to distinguish them fairly easily with some listening.

If you pay close attention, you can hear that every robin sings its cycles of beautiful phrasing in a slightly different way than other robins.

It is possible to recognize individual robins by their song with some practice.

The song is typically used during the nesting season and is somewhat correlated with the nesting stage, which provides insight into their behavior.

#3 The Robin “Whinny” Call

The Robin whinny is a fascinating call.

Since it sounds somewhat equine, birdwatchers refer to it as the whinny.

Observe how this call sounds entirely distinct from the other robin sounds.

But don’t let the variety of voices mislead you—that’s unmistakably a Robin!

This call was once made in alarm in reaction to a coyote that was walking along a game trail. The robin whined once as it soared to a height of about fifteen feet in a tree to observe.

Other times, it appears to be used for territorial purposes, or even to communicate with friends who are far away.

The key thing with alarms is always about context. It really is more related to the circumstances and less to the particular noises that birds make.

My bird language adventure videos offer a free sample of how to improve your bird language abilities.


Do robins sing or chirp?

We know that robins are one of the first species to begin singing every morning. In late May, they normally begin singing over an hour before sunrise. They sing the most early in the morning and at evening twilight after sunset. They sing the least around noon.

How many sounds do robins make?

Each male robin, Kroodsma explained, has in his repertoire 6-20 simple, whistled “caroling” phrases and 75-100 high-pitched, complex “hisselly” phrases. The familiar daytime song is often made up purely of caroling phrases: carol carol carol…

What bird song sounds like a robin?

Songs. The Black-headed Grosbeak’s whistled song rises and falls like an American Robin’s, but it’s longer, sweeter, more varied, and less choppy in its phrases. It’s sometimes likened to that of a “drunk” or “operatic” robin. Both males and females sing.

Why do robins chirp loudly?

Part of the reason links back to their confrontational tendencies, Robins keen to protect the occupation of their hard-won territories. Their song may sound wonderfully mellow to us, but it is essentially a ‘war cry,’ warning other Robins to stay well clear.