There can be no one who does not have an image of a wren in their head. From high mountains down onto the beach and even in city centres were there might be only the scrappiest bit of shrubbery you are likely to hear the alarm call or song of a wren. One particularly optimistic singer in the centre of Liverpool springs to mind. There was literally one bush in a canyon of car parks and shops. Even the most ardent of listers must have thought, at some point, how can something that small make so much noise.
And birders across the world are thinking this. The wren family (Trogloditidae) originated in the New World, and this wren is the only one to have escaped and occurs across Asia, Europe and North Africa. So literally on a spring morning wherever the sun rises it is rising on a wren singing his song. Donald Kroodsma has described this as a dawn-and-wren wave. It is from him I have taken the title of the post, as it is the Ojibway name for the Wren in honour of his long song- Ka-wa-miti-go-shi-que-na-go-mooch.
Though -go-mooch may well be how most of us experience a wren. This image taken from the Crossley ID Guide (accessed via the BTO) sums up how most of us see the bird.
Why now though as we come to the quiet part of the year would anyone post a blog about bird song? Well at this point the young males who have learnt and memorise songs from their fathers begin to practice. This is not always how young birds develop their song but in Wrens they have learned from adults and a local tradition is maintained. At this time of year the young males begin to practice and I did feel privileged to hear a bird down by the Tyne practice in readiness to take his place on the dawn wave next spring.
The best version I have found so far is Anthony McGeehan’s recording on Xeno-Canto.org of a young male practicing. Compared to the adult at the top of the post the notes are in there he just needs more practice.