In Larkwire, you learn songs in small groups. The groups gradually merge until you know them all. You control which groups you study by clicking their checkboxes on the Groups Panel.
Tips mode: The easiest way to learn all of Larkwire's features is to play in tips mode. In this mode, the game is fully functional but adds instructions and tips throughout. Use the Settings page to enter tips mode.
Game Types: Larkwire uses different games for different stages of learning.
The Gallery is for learning to hear the differences between songs.
The Field lets you practice ID from memory—more like real birding.
Click the Settings button to set the game type or just let Larkwire choose for you.
Game level: Larkwire has four levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and master. Higher levels include more songs and more challenging comparisons. Use the Settings page to set the game level. You won't miss any songs by skipping levels—all the lower songs are included in the higher levels. The Master level uses the same comparison groups as Advanced, but includes more song variations.
How to play (Gallery): At the start of a Gallery, click the images to familiarize yourself with the sounds. Click Start to begin. Give your answer by clicking the correct image. If it's right, Larkwire goes on to the next song. If not, Larkwire stops and you can again click any image to hear and study its sound.
When you want to change the birds in your gallery, click the Refill button at the top of the game board, or change groups in the Groups Panel. The Refill button will try to refill from your current group before going on to the next group.
How to play (Field): In a Field game, Larkwire plays songs for you and you try to identify them entirely by ear—just as if you're out birding. Click Know it if you do, and Not sure, otherwise. Larkwire then shows you the bird and you confirm whether you were right or not. Note that if there's a bird that you have never studied before, Larkwire will show it to you first, before quizzing you on it.
How to end the game: Press the Home button at any time to end play and see a summary.
Comparison view: Access all the songs and birds in a group by clicking the group's title in the Groups Panel. (On a touch device, touch and hold the title to open Comparison view.) The most common and representative samples are given first, with large orange buttons. Additional samples that show typical variation are given with smaller, grey buttons. The samples are organized by state and province. Master birder explanations teach you what to listen for in the sounds. In a Gallery game, you can show these tips for your gallery birds by clicking the Info button .
Audio replay: You can replay songs by clicking the Larkwire bird .
Earning colors: Each song is represented by an icon on the Groups Panel, and as you master the songs, the icons change color. Each color level is more challenging than the previous one. Green means that you have gotten at least 75% correct. Blue can only be earned in a Field game and requires at least 90% correct. Gold also requires a Field game and your recent identifications must be 100% correct. Sometimes you will come back to the game and find your colors have faded. This means it's time to review that group.
Getting help: For help, including these instructions as well as keyboard shortcuts, use the Help button on the Home page.
Learning tips: Have fun and don't be afraid to
make mistakes! If you're having trouble distinguishing certain songs (and who doesn't!?), you can
set up a Gallery using just those songs. You will be amazed at how
hearing the songs repeatedly sharpens your perceptions even when you can't identify them. But give
it time—these changes generally take days or weeks rather than minutes.
Finally, try to listen in a quiet environment with good quality headphones or speakers. The subtle differences in birdsong may get lost with poor audio conditions.
We think Larkwire is the easiest, fastest, most enjoyable way to learn bird songs. Let us know what you think at: email@example.com.
During game play, hover over any button to see its shortcut.
Yes! Although we do offer a native version available through iTunes, the web app also works quite well as long as you run it in full screen mode. (Of course, you will need an internet connection.)
To do this on the iPad or iPhone/Touch, first open Larkwire in Safari. Then tap the Add Bookmarks icon ( or +) and select Add to Home Screen. Now Larkwire will open using your full screen.
To do this on Android, first open Larkwire in your browser and create a bookmark. Then long-press the bookmark and select the Add shortcut to home option.
Why is blank not in my songpack?
The list of species that go in a songpack is based on factors such as species range and abundance. Unless you have one of our Pro songpacks, there are certainly many wonderful species in your area that couldn't be included. If you do have a Pro songpack and you think we omitted a crucial bird, by all means, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why don't the recordings of blank sound like the ones I'm used to hearing?
There are several possible reasons: (1) Your birds may be singing a different song or call than the one that is featured in your songpack. Each songpack focuses on certain songs and calls, and cannot include them all; (2) Bird sounds, especially songs, often have significant geographical variation. Although we strive to show the range of typical variation, we cannot cover every possible variation. This is just one of the wonderful things about birdsong.
What if I'm tone deaf? Can I still learn birding by ear?
Very few people have true tone deafness—the inability to distinguish different pitches. As long as you can tell high notes from low ones, you can learn to bird by ear—you don't have to be able to sing!
But musicians do have a head start, because they're used to listening closely and hearing subtle differences. Some of the qualities we use to tell one bird song from another are hard to hear at first. Be patient and realize that even when you don't think you're hearing any difference, your ears are learning.
Is it okay to share my account with someone else?
Sharing your account is not recommended, because there is no way for Larkwire to keep track of each person's learning data separately. Both learners will lose much of the benefit of Larkwire's adaptive learning algorithms.
Can two accounts share the same email address?
Unfortunately, no. Your email address is also your login name, so each
account must have its own email address. (If you don't have a second email
address, you can easily set one up just for use with Larkwire. Google, Yahoo,
and others provide free email accounts.
What game level should I choose?
The one where you have the most fun! You won't miss any songs by skipping a level, since every song from lower levels is included in the higher levels. On the other hand, the higher levels are significantly more challenging than lower levels, and the species at each level are carefully chosen to lay a foundation for learning at the higher levels. If you do jump ahead, and find yourself having difficulty, you may want to drop down a level and make sure that you've really mastered these foundation songs.
Which game type should I choose?
In general, both. From a learning perspective, the two games are very different and serve different roles. The Gallery is ideal for learning to hear the differences between songs. The Field is best for practicing ID from memory. To really learn birdsong, you need to do both. Of course, every learner is different, and you should do what works best for you. Have fun, and don't sweat it too much!
Why are some game levels grayed out?
Some songpacks (eg., Backyard Birder and Core) are too small to have all three game levels.
How do I set up a Gallery between just two species?
Open the Comparison page for the group containing the songs (by clicking the group title on the Groups Panel). Then check the checkboxes for the two species you want. If they're not in the same group, then do this for each group that contains a song you want in your gallery.
I'm working on a group with more than four species in it. How do I get the last ones into the gallery?
Use the Refill button .
How do I show only Warblers and Sparrows on the Group Panel?
From the Settings page, click the Details link next to the songpack you're learning. This will open a page listing all the family groups in that songpack. Select whichever ones you want to display.
Why can't Larkwire play audio on my system?
For phones and tablets, make sure that you're using a supported device. We are regularly adding support for new devices, but can't do everything at once!
For desktops and laptops, the problem may be caused by using an older browser. Larkwire has been tested and works well on recent versions of Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari. Older versions may cause problems. Also, for the best results, check the status of your browser's Flash plugin and make sure it's up-to-date. (Note that this does not apply to mobile devices.)
If you use any type of Flash blocking software, please whitelist larkwire.com.
Are my scores saved automatically?
Yes. As long as you have web access, the game regularly saves your learning data. Press Home at the end of your game to see a summary of your session and send any unsaved data.
How do I change my email or password?
First, make sure you're logged-in. Then, click the Profile link and then click Edit profile. The Profile link is next to the Logout link at the top of every page on the web site. (Note that these links are not visible when you're playing the game. Visit the Home page to access the web site.)
ending: A final note (or notes) that is emphasized.
Describes the general tendency of a song or call. This term is used when
there's overlap between two species, as in Dark-eyed Junco and Chipping
Sparrow. The junco trill "averages slower and more musical." That
is, on average it is slower and more musical, but there's a great deal of
variation and overlap.
Non-stop; as if the singer should need to stop and take a breath, but doesn't.
Series of liquid notes that remind of bubbling water. See Liquid.
type of roughness. See Pure vs. Rough tones.
type of roughness. See Pure vs. Rough tones.
Continuous: See Smooth (rhythm).
Descending: See Falling.
Given in pairs.
Having notes that are strongly accented (emphasized).
Having abrupt, loud onset or onsets.
Covering a relatively long duration.
sound in which the pitch is slurred downward. (See Learning to hear pitch, below.) A phrase or song may also be said to fall if it starts
with higher pitches and ends with lower pitches, even if it has ups and downs
Full: Rich and robust, rather than delicate.
Grating: A type of roughness. See Pure vs. Rough tones.
Soft: Hard notes are strong and well-defined, soft notes are weaker and less defined.
type of roughness. See Pure vs. Rough tones.
echoing quality as if produced across an empty container.
type of roughness. See Pure vs. Rough tones.
An alternating (push-pull, ebb-flow, back-and-forth) rhythm.
at a relaxed pace.
Pure-toned notes that sound as if made with water in the mouth.
Having a soft, hissy quality.
Combination of hard and ringing.
Modulated: Not pure-toned.
Musical: See Sweet.
Nasal: As if uttered through the nose.
Note: Simplest unit of sound. For example, this Black-capped Chickadee recording contains four songs, each of which consists of three notes. The third note is a repetition of the second.
Grouping of notes that forms a distinct part of a complete song or call. See Note. For example, this American Robin recording contains four songs. The first two songs each have four phrases and the second two each have three phrases.
aspect of a sound (specifically, it's frequency of vibration) that causes it
to be perceived as "high" or "low" relative to other
sounds. (See Learning to hear pitch, below.)
quality of mournfulness, usually from a falling tone that resembles a
cry. For example, the Rough-legged Hawk has a plaintive call:
Pure vs. Rough
tones: Birds make sounds that range from extremely pure to extremely
rough-sounding. Here are a few examples:
Rich: See Full; see Vibrant.
Ringing: A quality of sound that is more resonant.
sound in which the pitch is slurred upward. (See Learning to hear pitch, below.)
An entire phrase or song may also be said to rise if it starts with lower
pitches and ends with higher pitches, even if it has ups and downs
Rough: See Pure vs. Rough tones.
type of roughness. See Pure vs. Rough tones.
High, clear, and crisply enunciated.
Sibilant: See Lisping.
sound in which the pitch changes smoothly or multiple notes blend together
without enunciation. Slurs can be rising, falling, or any combination of
(quality): See Pure vs. Rough tones.
Smooth (rhythm): Without breaks or choppiness.
Staccato: Notes or elements that are shortened and detached from each other. In the example, below, listen for how the staccato notes stop more abruptly.
Quickly repeated notes that seem to be uttered involuntarily compared to other
parts of the song.
Sweet: A quality of sound that is relatively melodious.
(two-syllabled, three-syllabled, etc.): Distinct part of a sound
consisting of a single note or slur.
Three-parted: see Two-parted.
Three-syllabled: see Syllable.
Consisting of two distinct parts. In the example below, there are four Nashville Warbler songs. The first part of each song has a series of two-syllabled notes; the second part is a faster trill. The one-parted example has four Common Yellowthroat songs, each of which has one continuous part.
Two-syllabled: see Syllable.
Vibrant: Quality of sound that is strong, full of energy, with rich, resonant tone.
Wavering:: Not steady. May be used of pitch, tone, or loudness.
ending: See Accented ending.
Learning To Hear
Pitch: As you study bird sounds, your ability to notice changes in
pitch will develop. Beginners sometimes worry that they are "tone
deaf" or otherwise incapable of hearing these differences. If you speak
English, you are already a skilled perceiver of pitch. Below are
four different uses of the word "what". Can you hear the difference
in meaning? If so, you are perceiving pitch change.
Congratulations! You've completed the level of .
Congratulations! You've completed this gallery.
Great job! You've finished reviewing .
Whew! That's great work on . To absorb the benefits, you may want to rest this group for a while.
Holy House Finch! All your groups are gold! You've completed the level!
Holy Grebe, Eaglet! All your groups are gold! You've completed the level!
Holy Cordilleran Flycatcher, Pipit! All your groups are gold! You've completed the level!
Holy Northern Pygmy-Owl, Magnolia! All your groups are gold! You've completed the level!
Share your progress or quiz your friends:
Thanks for sharing!
Status of your level groups:
ready for review;
finished and resting;
started but not finished;
not yet started.
Press the Accept button to accept this recommendation. Otherwise, press Resume or choose new groups yourself.
Press Resume or choose new groups yourself from the Groups panel.
Facebook Sharing Note
The first time you share from your
mobile device, you'll be asked to grant Larkwire permission to
post to Facebook as you. After that, you'll
be able to share in a single click without leaving the game. You can
revoke this permission at any time from your Facebook privacy settings.
We will never post to Facebook unless you explicitly ask us to.
Twitter Sharing Note
The first time you tweet from your mobile device, you'll be
asked to grant Larkwire permission to read, follow, update, and
post Tweets for you. (This is the smallest set of permissions that we can
request.) After that, you'll be able to tweet in a single click
without leaving the game. You can revoke this permission at any time
from the Applications tab of your Twitter Settings page.
We will never post to or interact with your Twitter account unless you explicitly ask us to.
Tip: To make the Larkwire gameboard fit your screen, use your browser's Zoom command.
Click the birds to preview their songs. Click the Start button to play the game.
Click the bird image that matches the sound.
If you get one wrong (or if you press Stop), the game pauses and you can again click the birds to review their sounds. Click the Resume button to continue the game.
To change the birds in your gallery, click the Refill button . Or, you can uncheck the checkbox next to the group's title and check another one.
Click the Info button to show listening tips for your current gallery.
Want to exclude certain songs? You can specify which songs to include by selecting their checkboxes on the group's Comparison page. To open the Comparison page, click the title of the group
Want a little extra help? Check out two articles on Getting The Most Out Of Larkwire. (Go to Home and then Help.)
If you recognize this song, click the Know button. Otherwise, click Not Sure. Be sure to form a definite answer in your mind before choosing.
You can add or remove groups from the game at any time using the checkboxes next to each group's title.
Now click Got it or Missed it—it's the honor system. This enables the learning engine to track your learning progress and use your practice time efficiently.
This is a bird that you haven't seen before, so Larkwire plays the song and doesn't quiz you. The chime sound separates different song samples.
You can click the Next button whenever you're ready. You don't have to wait for the song to end.
You can start and stop the audio by clicking the Larkwire bird .
The orange buttons represent the most common, representative samples. The other samples show typical variation and are only used in the game at the Master level.
Use the checkboxes to select specific songs to be included in this game.
"Emphatic?" "Breathless?" "Metallic?" Wondering what something in the song text means? Check out the Glossary. (Go to Home and then Help.)
The orange buttons represent the most common, representative samples. The other samples show typical variation, and are only used in the game at the Master level.
Tips are now off. You can turn them back on from the Settings page .