Calling You from My Cell

by Ian Tullis
Answer: TERN

This puzzle relates the sounds of bird calls to the sounds of telephone calls. The dial tones produce area codes, each of which is associated with a different state. The bird calls all come from state birds. These two sets of states are the same. Although some of the birds (like the Northern Cardinal) are state birds for more than one state, only one of the possible states will have an area code in this puzzle.

The states of the area codes following each call do not match the states of the bird calls. This links all of the calls together in a loop. That is, the Hawaiian bird dials the California area code, the California bird dials the Alabama area code, etc.

Start Time Bird State Bird Area Code Locale
0:01.6 Purple Finch New Hampshire 202 District of Columbia
0:07.4 Eastern Bluebird New York 203 Connecticut
0:12.5 California Quail California 205 Alabama
0:18.9 Ruffed Grouse Pennsylvania 208 Idaho
0:32.2 Nene [Hawaiian Goose] Hawaii start_dialtone 209 California
0:41.6 American Goldfinch Iowa 212 New York
0:48.2 Carolina Wren South Carolina 215 Pennsylvania
0:54.3 Western Meadowlark Wyoming 217 Illinois
0:59.8 Northern Cardinal Illinois 303 Colorado
1:10.3 Wood Thrush District of Columbia 307 Wyoming
1:20.5 Roadrunner New Mexico 319 Iowa
1:27.6 Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher Oklahoma 401 Rhode Island
1:38.1 Mockingbird Arkansas 405 Oklahoma
2:01.1 American Robin Connecticut 479 Arkansas
2:08.3 Ring-Necked Pheasant [Common Pheasant] South Dakota 480 Arizona
2:12.4 Willow Ptarmigan Alaska 505 New Mexico
2:19.6 Cactus Wren Arizona 603 New Hampshire
2:26.2 Rhode Island Red [Chicken] Rhode Island 605 South Dakota
2:31.6 Yellowhammer [Northern Flicker] Alabama 803 South Carolina
2:41.7 Lark Bunting Colorado 808 hangup Hawaii
2:50.5 Mountain Bluebird Idaho 907 Alaska

These associations can be put into a loop, starting with CA (area code 209 is preceded by a neutral dial tone) and ending with area code 808 (after which there is the sound of a phone hanging up.) The full loop is: CA/AL/SC/PA/ID/AK/NM/IA/NY/CT/AR/OK/RI/SD/AZ/NH/DC/WY/IL/CO/HI. The first letters of the states spell out CASPIAN, INCA, OR SANDWICH, each of which is a kind of TERN.