[Tweeters] Do Bewick’s Wrens have local dialects?

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Sun May 17 13:32:37 PDT 2015

Hello Tweets,

I’ve been wondering this question for some time. Finally, I’ve gotten
around to putting it into words. Here goes: do Bewick’s Wrens have local

On January 12th of this year, a strange song erupted from a bush on my way
to school. Pausing, I noted it: it had a ringing, bell-like quality. It had
an Ovenbird-like quality, though there was no way this was an Ovenbird. I
pulled out my iPhone and got a 3-second recording; I called the recording
“Wren/Sparrow”. Soon after, I realized that this was in fact a Bewick’s

On February 22nd (coincidentally the day that I saw an extremely early
Little Brown Bat), I heard the same song in my yard. “That bird must have a
large territory,” I thought.

In early April, while on a jog with my friends, I heard the song yet again,
this time perhaps slightly different. I mused, “Huh, that wren must really
get around,” before jogging on.

On April 22nd, two months after I heard the song in my yard, I heard it yet
again. This time, the song really was different; this time, it was in
Pioneer Park at the south end of the Island, a 7-minute drive from our
house, or a 30-minute walk. This time, I knew something was up. A singly
wren couldn’t possibly travel *that *far, or have such variations on a
similar song. That was when I got to wondering.

Here is my recording from January: http://www.xeno-canto.org/243803

So, does anyone have more insights on the subject? Does a birder know of a
specific local dialect, or at least of their existence? Are there any
formal papers on the subject, or sources? Finally, has anyone heard the
“Ovenbird-like” song anywhere else?

Maybe song-dialects are a way to distinguish between populations!

Ain’t birding fun? Masterpieces and mystery, all in one hobby.

Good birding, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com
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