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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 tiny cocked tail of the bird we know as the Winter Wren. Be sure to watch the video.
The Tail of the Wren
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[House Wren song]
A House Wren sings from deep inside a thicket. [House Wren song] With its tail cocked at a jaunty angle, this small brown wren presents us with a classic bird image. That cocked tail, twitching sharply as the House Wren scolds, puts an exclamation point on the wren’s perky voice and attitude. [House Wren sharp buzzes]
But wait! There’s another bird in that thicket. [Lincoln’s Sparrow song] Another small, brown bird firing off a brisk song, its tail up and twitching. [Lincoln’s Sparrow song]
Another wren, of course? Not so fast. This song and tail belong to a Lincoln’s Sparrow. [Lincoln’s Sparrow song]
The Lincoln’s Sparrow also frequently cocks and twitches its tail. Some other sparrows, ones that spend much of their time in dense vegetation, do the same.
But it is the wrens that we will always know best for that sporty tail. In fact, the very word “wren” comes to us intact from Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon languages. It referred specifically to the tiny cocked tail of the only wren of the Old World, once known simply as the wren, now called the Eurasian Wren. [As an aside:] It’s a close cousin of the Winter Wren and the Pacific Wren of the US. [Winter Wren song]
High-tail it over to our website, birdnote.org, to see photos of these champion songsters! Birdnote.org! I’m Michael Stein.
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of the House Wren and song of the Winter Wren recorded by G.A.Keller; buzzes of House Wren by T.G. Sander.
Song of the Lincoln’s Sparrow by Martyn Stewart, naturesound.org
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and produced by John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org June 2015 Narrator: Michael Stein
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