Tom Stephenson

Tom Stephenson – The Warbler Guide: A New Approach to ID

Identifying the warblers and other species singing in the field is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying aspects of birding. However learning and remembering the important ID points of difficult and similar vocalizations can be challenging. This lecture will cover many new techniques that make it easier to identify singing warblers and other species. This workshop will first cover how to understand and use sonograms to learn what makes a vocalization unique and how to differentiate similar-sounding species. Based on a new system outlined in The Warbler Guide Tom will then explain and demonstrate how understanding a song’s structure, and the characteristics of the Elements and Phrases that make up the song, can speed up the identification process and make it easier to remember all kinds of vocalizations. There will also be a discussion of how to use a song finder to quickly identify a singing warbler using the objective, easy-to-hear qualities of a song. Tom will also explain a simple 3-step memorization system that he has used many times to memorize 300 or more songs for a trip to a new country.

Tom Stephenson has been birding since he was a kid under the tutelage of Dr. Arthur Allen of Cornell University. His articles and photographs are in museums and many publications including Birding, Birdwatcher’s Digest, Handbook of the Birds of the World, Handbook of the Mammals of the World and Guide to the Birds of Southeast Brazil. He was on Zeiss’s digiscoping team for the World Series of Birding and in 2011 his and Scott’s team won the World Series Cape Island Cup and in 2014 they set the US record for a Photo Big Day. His latest book, The Warbler Guide, is published by Princeton University Press.

Leave a Comment