[Tweeters] Wren Song Sandwich

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sun Sep 20 10:26:39 PDT 2015

My current hangout here in Port Townsend is a three Wren neighborhood. Nesting Wrens anyhow - I've seen a few Winter Wrens (oops, I mean Pacific) moving through at times, but not singing in the immediate 'hood. This late summer I've enjoyed hearing a singing House Wren just outside my window, although not lately.
Lately, like just now, Bewicks Wren is the Wren song I'm hearing - a much more common and widespread species around here than the House Wren. The two species sound remarkably different, but......
As I posted a little while back, the song of the House Wren is sort of an unfamiliar song to me, as they are not all that common in most of Western Washington, but they like dryish ol' Port Townsend. It's song clearly, at least to me, sounds like Wren song. To me the one here in the yard sounded like a Wren sound-mix. I asked Mother Nature about it one day.
"Hey Mother Nature, it sounds to me like that House Wren sounds like a cross between a Marsh Wren and a Bewicks Wren. What do you think about that?", I inquired.
" You better check out my Sound Department" She replied, and gave me the address. I walked down there.
It was just down the hill, down by Kah Tai Lagoon, where the Marsh Wrens hang in the 'hood. I've always thought that singing Marsh Wrens with their sustained loud buzzy song, seemed like overwound wind-up toys about ready to explode. That's a lot of sound to come out of such a tiny feather ball.
So I found the Sound Department (it's all underground) and walked in the front door. I asked the receptionist (who happened to be a Port Townsend deer) where I could find someone to answer my Wren question, and she motioned me with a slight head movement and short cough, so I followed her hoof- clacking lead down a very long hallway - it's a really big Department - to a very low side door. She kicked the door, hard, and somebody opened it. I ducked into the low doorway and entered a low dark room lit up mostly by the lights on a big soundboard. A short fellow with a long narrow nose was perched on low stool in front of the thing.
" I'm the sound mixer here, they call me Sir-Wren-Around. Whaddya want?" the creature asked . So I blurped out my House Wren song theory.
Sir-Wren-Around smiled slightly. "Well, I'm glad somebody is listening" he said. " Wren song is a complicated and variable sound, but yes the House Wren does contain long buzzy bits like a Marsh Wren and clearer short whistle sections like a Bewicks, kinda like a Wren song sandwich - slice of Marsh Wren on one side, Bewicks on the other, with a House Wren filler. Live around here?" Sir-Wren-Around inquired. I gave him my address .
"Oh yeah, I know that House Wren - Henery. He's a particularly accomplished singer and we've worked together on his mix. Real talent, and you're lucky to have heard him." the sound mixer said.
"Wow, this is really fascinating!" I said. "What else you working on?"
"Well" the sound-mixer said, " I'm really excited about a new project we're thinking about - a mix of Canyon Wren and Winter Wren. Can you imagine that descending Canyon call extended and pushed to new limits with the Winter mix!"
"Wow, that would be really cool" I said. " When's it coming out?"
"Well, maybe never" Sir-Wren-Around replied. "You know, Mother Nature takes her own sweet time, and anyhow, both those Wrens sound pretty good right now - don't you think?"
Jeff Gibsonsemi-musicologistPort Townsend Wa

More information about the Tweeters mailing list