One of the things I have been trying to concentrate on this spring has been learning more bird songs. The other night I was digging through a stack of old Bird Watcher's Digests (BWD) and I found an article about Learning Bird Sounds. I checked the BWD site to see if the article was on line, but it wasn't. Though there were numerous other articles about the subject. So I will just give a few highlights of the article which was written by Jeffrey A. Gordon and was in the April/March 2004 issue.
Round up the usual suspects: Every area has birds that are common to the area. Learn those songs first.
Close your eyes: When you close your eyes you eliminate the visual stimuli and you are able to concentrate on the sounds you are hearing.
Look goofy: Cup your hands behind your ears. This enhances what you are hearing.
Take turns: This part would have been better titled "Enlist the help of more experienced birders". When you are birding with others, have those that know bird songs identify them for you.
Repeat, repeat, repeat: One only becomes totally comfortable with their knowledge when they have heard the song many times.
There's more in the article, but those were the things I found most helpful.
What I've been doing this year is sitting and listening to a bird when one will cooperate and just sit and sing for me. I have also found reinforcing my knowledge to be very useful. For instance, I know the Song Sparrow song, but last week when one was sitting there dominating the sounds of that area I sat and just listened to him for awhile.
There are many resources out there on the toobz. The Cornell site and the WhatBird site are both excellent resources for bird songs.
There's a plethora of products such as already preloaded Ipods or software to load on your Ipod. I don't have one of these as I just haven't been able to convince myself that I need one more gizmo to haul along when I'm out and about. There's also CD's from multiple sources. Here's a site that lists some of those resources.