Guillemot fledging - by Lachlan Pope

Cracking the Code of Pigeon Guillemot Communications

About the Class

10:00 - 11:00 AM Session 1
Speaker: Maria Mudd Ruth

Cracking the Code of Pigeon Guillemot Communications

The vocal repertoire of the Pigeon Guillemot is one of the most complex among the alcid family of seabirds. Birders may be familiar with the guillemot’s “high-pitched whistle” and “scream” to identify these calls in the field, but the guillemots have so much more to tell us about who they are. These chatty, expressive seabirds pair their many vocalizations with distinctive body postures in such a way that birders of any skill level can interpret what the guillemots are communicating to each other–and to us–about their social structure, behavioral intentions, and nearby threats. 

This class will introduce you to several of the guillemot’s vocalizations and associated body postures. Which of these monomorphic birds is male or female? Who wants to mate? Who wants to fight? What do all those screams, whistles, trills, peeps, and chips mean? You may not become a Dr. Doolittle overnight but when the guillemots move inshore to their nesting habitat this spring, you will have the tools to crack the code of their otherwise cryptic communications. Your experience of the world of the Pigeon Guillemot will be greatly enhanced.

Maria’s presentation includes photographs, video clips, locally recorded guillemot calls, and sonograms. Each class participant will receive a set of 5″ x 8″ illustrated “Calling Cards” featuring descriptions of several Pigeon Guillemot vocalizations and body postures. 

Rare bird book cover
Pigeon Guillemot on Water

Purchase copies of Rare Bird from Maria’s Seattle publisher, Mountaineers Books, or in-store in many PNW bookstores and other online retailers.

View Maria’s website:

Connect with Maria Ruth on FaceBook

socializing piegeon guillemot photo by lachlan pope
Socializing Pigeon Guillemots – photo by Lachlan Pope

About the Speaker

Maria Mudd Ruth

Maria Mudd will present on Marbled Murrelets at Sound Waters University on Saturday February 4, 2023.