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The Cactus Wren's Signature Voice

Bold and brassy, with a gravelly refrain

Most wrens in North America are small, furtive birds that stay deep in the vegetation. But the Cactus Wren is large, bold, and brassy. These wrens are well adapted to the desert and can get all the moisture they need from their food. Cactus Wren nests are a regular sight in their range of dry habitats from West Texas to California. The nest looks like a football made of twigs, stuck horizontally in a thorny tree or cholla cactus. It’s easily seen but well guarded by the spiky vegetation.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®  

Cactus Wren and Its Signature Voice

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

Perched atop a cactus in the American Southwest, a strikingly patterned brown bird sings a gravelly refrain. 

[Cactus Wren song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/167833, 0.06-.10] 

Its harsh, foreboding quality seems to capture the mood of the arid, thorn-studded landscape.

[Cactus Wren song, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/167833, 0.06-.10]

Our singer is the size of a Red-winged Blackbird.  But it’s a wren — a very large one — called the Cactus Wren.

Most wrens in North America are small, furtive birds that stay deep in the vegetation. The bold, brassy Cactus Wren is the northernmost species of a group of tropical wrens, all big wrens with complex social behavior. You might see a whole family group of Cactus Wrens foraging together, in search of large insects and cactus fruits. These wrens are well adapted to the desert and can get all the moisture they need from their food.

Cactus Wrens are a regular sight in their range of dry habitats from West Texas to California. The nest looks like a football made of twigs, stuck horizontally in a thorny tree or cholla (CHOY-uh) cactus. The nest is easily seen but well guarded by the spiky vegetation. 

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. 167833 recorded by Hope J Batcheller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
© 2017 Tune In to Nature.org   February 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#             CACW-02-2017-02-08    CACW-02   

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