Swainson’s Warbler singing near New River Gorge, WV…at least it sounded like a Swainson’s while I was watching it!
This really is an aside, not a full-blown post. But I thought it might kick off some interesting discussion.
I saw this post on Krulwich Wonders (an NPR blog) about the McGurk effect, where the BBC video below quite convincingly demonstrates that your eyes can “overrule” your ears, tricking you into mishearing things.
I wonder how much (or if) this McGurk effect might enter into bird identification? I often have the experience where the sound a bird makes clinches the identification of a bird I can’t see or can’t see very well. But what about a bird that I’ve made a (possibly incorrect) visual ID of? Could I then mis-hear its calls based on my visually-derived assumptions? Should we all close our eyes when listening to birds sing, so as to hear what they are “really” singing?
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