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Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)

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What Birds Can Hear in Songs

What does the Winter Wren hear in a song? It's a long story... What we hear as a blur of sound, the bird hears as a precise sequence of sounds, the visual equivalent of seeing a movie as a series of still pictures. That birds can hear the fine structure of song so acutely allows them to convey... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Tail of the Wren

The House Wren presents us with a classic bird image. That jaunty tail, twitching sharply as the wren scolds, puts an exclamation point on the bird's perky voice and attitude. The word "wren" comes to us intact from the Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon languages, where it referred specifically to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  language

Nests with Flair

While small birds gather feathers and fuzz, an Osprey adds material to its showy nest, high on a tree with a broken top - or maybe on a tower. Take branches three feet long; add sticks, bark, and mats of algae; throw in some flotsam and jetsam, and you have an Osprey's nest. It's unfortunate that... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Winter Wren, Champion Songster

Bubbling, cascading, penetrating - the song of the Pacific Wren bursts from deep within huckleberry bushes and floats beneath tall, cool evergreens. Pound for pound, the Winter Wren of the East and its close cousin, the Pacific Wren of the West, have ten times the sound power of a crowing rooster... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

A Long Story in a Short Song

What we hear as a blur of sound, a bird hears as a precise sequence of sounds, the visual equivalent of seeing a movie as a series of still pictures. That birds can hear the fine structure of song so acutely allows them to convey much information in a short sound. Winter Wrens are found most... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  vocalization

The Savvy Wren

Because many birds are largely silent in winter, it may seem that they have left us. But many remain, and even the shy and secretive sometimes reveal themselves. A Winter Wren may dart from hiding to grab a meal. The Winter Wren of the East and the Pacific Wren of the West are tiny woodland birds... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching, reflection, vocalization

Myth of the Wren

December 26th is known in the British Isles and elsewhere as Saint Stephen's Day, in honor of the first Christian martyr. Beginning in the 16th Century, local lads would go forth for a yearly wren hunt. The wren was protected the rest of the year, but the day after Christmas, the "Wren Boys"... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history, myth

Winter Wren in a Carolina Cathedral, With Gordon Hempton

Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker, records the sounds of nature in pristine places. Mesmerized by a Winter Wren singing in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest of the Carolinas, Gordon chased the bird up and down a mountain before capturing its song at close range. But when he listened to the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound, vocalization
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