By LEONARDO HABERKORN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Jun 10, 2016, 9:33 AM ET
The Associated Press
Born blind, Juan Pablo Culasso has never seen a bird. But through his gifted sense of hearing, he can identify more than 3,000 different bird sounds and differentiate more than 720 species.
The 29-year-old said he realized he had perfect, or absolute pitch, when he was a boy. Tossing stones in a river, he was able to tell his father exactly the note each one made when it hit the water.
Absolute pitch, the rare ability to hear a tone and immediately know it's a C-sharp, for example, is so unusual that only one of every 10,000 people has it, Culasso said, adding that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was among them.
Culasso said his dad later read to him about birds from an encyclopedia that came with an audio cassette of their calls.
"That's when I realized that I could memorize birds by their sounds," he said.
He said he discovered his calling as a teenager, when he joined an ornithologist on a 2003 field visit, inspired by his love of birds. The bird expert gave him a recorder, and he was hooked.