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A Young Bewick's Wren Learns to Sing

Like father, like son? Not quite!
© Jeff Whitlock View Large

Donald Kroodsma, avian communication expert, offers great research on the songs of the Bewick's Wren. At this time of year, a very young male Bewick's Wren is beginning to learn how to sing. His father sings a crisp well-defined song, separated by pauses, but the young bird's song is fuzzy, unfocused, a little rambling. Each adult male Bewick's Wren has his own set of unique songs. A young wren grows up learning his father's songs. But when young bird matures and moves to its own new territory, it will leave behind the song of its father to create a song that sounds more like its new neighbors. The better to compete for a mate!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

A Bewick’s Wren Learns to Sing

By Chris Peterson

This is BirdNote!
    [A young Bewick’s Wren learning to sing (1)]
    At this time of year, a very young male Bewick’s Wren is beginning to learn how to sing. [Continue young Bewick’s Wren learning to sing (1)] Like a human baby, he’ll babble while he experiments with sounds and learns how to organize phrases.
    [Babbling of a human baby (2)]
    The young Bewick’s Wren is listening to the song of his father who sings a crisp well-defined song, separated by pauses.  
    [Song of adult Bewick’s Wren with three phrases (3)]
    Now let’s compare:  Here’s the song of our young Bewick’s Wren: [Song of young male Bewick’s Wren]
It’s fuzzy, unfocused, a little rambling.
Here’s the adult male again: [Song of adult Bewick’s Wren]
It’s fully developed and unique to that male.
Each adult male Bewick’s Wren has his own set of songs.  [Song of adult Bewick’s Wren] A young wren grows up learning his father’s songs.  But when it matures and moves to its own new territory, it will leave behind the song of its father to create a song that sounds more like its new neighbors.  
[Song of different adult male Bewick’s Wren]
BirdNote would like to thank Donald Kroodsma, avian communication expert, for his research on the Bewick’s Wren. You’ll find a link to his work at birdnote.org.
                                           ###
Song of Bewick’s Wren and human baby (his daughter) recorded by Donald Kroodsma and found on the CD of Donald Kroodsma’s, The Singing Life of Birds: the Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2005  1) Track 11,  2) Track 9, and 3) Track 10.
Final song of adult Bewick’s Wren (103223) provided by Macaulay Library at Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, recorded by M.D. Medler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org     May 2017  Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#     BEWR-02-2012-05-01    

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