Pacific Wren in full song. (Photo: © Julio Mulero)
To human ears birds' songs sound quick and repetitive but BirdNote’s Mary McCann reports that to another bird the same song might sound like a complex operatic aria.
CURWOOD: Hearing the birds sing is one of the great pleasures of being out in the country - or even in your own garden, if you're lucky enough to have one. But as BirdNote®'s Mary McCann points out - even though we can listen and enjoy - human ears can miss a lot.
MCCANN: Listen carefully to the song of the Pacific Wren.
[SONG OF THE PACIFIC WREN]
MCCANN: What we hear as a blur of sound, the Pacific Wren hears as a precise sequence of sounds. That birds can hear so acutely the fine structure of song allows them to convey much information in a short sound. “This is probably why," naturalist Rosemary Jellis writes, "even the most extensive bird songs seem so brief to us. The bird, with its speeded-up time sense, must feel as if it had sung the equivalent of an operatic aria.” Let's listen again, but this time with the song slowed down to one-quarter speed.
[SONG OF THE PACIFIC WREN AT 1/4 SPEED]
MCCANN: Pacific Wrens may hear the song of other Pacific Wrens this way, enabling them to imitate each other. The same would be true for Winter Wrens of the eastern states and Eurasian Wrens. Whatever the species, they remind us that creatures we share the world with, read and respond to nature in ways we sometimes cannot see or hear.
[SONG OF THE PACIFIC WREN AT 1/4 SPEED AGAIN]
MCCANN: I’m Mary McCann.
CURWOOD: And you can check out the pictures of Pacific Wrens over at our website, loe dot org.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth