Are they making alarm calls, mating calls, or just calm conversational calls? Part of bird language is their behavior, too. Did they suddenly fly to a higher part of the tree as if something wicked this way comes? If you’re paying attention to birds, you can also be more clued in to the other animals moving through the landscape.
He also said that birds tell you something about yourself by their response to you as you move through their habitat. If you’re calm and don’t appear to be a threat, then they won’t sound an alert or fly away. According to him, even your mood on different days can affect the birds’ responses to you.
Flash non-fiction (True story!):
A couple of days after listening to these lectures, I was making my usual rounds of our property. Suddenly, I heard the crazy frantic peeping of a flock of bird near a little above-ground pond I keep for the critters here in the high chaparral.
“Oh, no!” I thought. “A wee little birdie has fallen in and is drowning!” Yeah, I know. What a dork. But that is indeed what I thought because, before I put in extra rocks, I actually found some poor little dead birdies in my pond one morning. Very sad.
Anyway, I ran over to see what the commotion was all about. No birds in the water, but the whole bush behind the pond was literally (and I literally mean literally) a-twitter with frantic little yellowish gray birds. (Next job – learn bird species.)
One rather ragged-looking little fellow just stared me in the face from about three feet away and continued to peep. “Hmm. I thought. I guess I must be a really great person, since they’re not flying away even with me right here.”
I dumped the pond to get them some fresh water, and … “STHHHhhhhh!!!” A rattlesnake, about ten feet away on the ground. Ah ha!! They were sending out an alarm about him! I was just random noise in their far more dangerous world.
Had I understood bird language I would have realized their response was less about me and more about the real threat down there where they were going for water. Taking another look at that ragged-looking fellow, I realized he had more of a shell-shocked look about him than a calm, "oh-what-a-nice-person-that-is-staring-at-me" expression.
So, I'd better get back to listening to those Bird Language lectures. And paying better attention!