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Males begin singing their harsh, rhythmic song from an exposed perch before sunrise. This bird was singing from the top of a tall mesquite. Males sing one song type repeatedly before switching to another. (Two song types by one bird, Catalina State Park, Arizona).
Habitat: Desert and arid brushland, thorny shrub community, cactus, mesquite, creosote bush.
The male's song is easily recognized by its loud, clear, repetitive whistled phrases. It usually repeats a phrase 3-5 times. Each male may have twenty or more songs; he will repeat one song many times before switching to another. (One bird; Albany County, New York.)
Habitat: Shrubby undergrowth, tangles, suburbs.
The male's song is a sequence of notes and trills which varies regionally in complexity. The more complex songs are often reminiscent of the Song Sparrow. Here are three Song Sparrow-like songs by one bird, and two songs interspersed among scolding calls. Another wren made these calls as long as we were near it. Each male has 9 to 22 songs in his repertoire, and he generally sings one song repeatedly before switching to another. (Lost Maples State Park, Texas).
Habitat: Brushy areas and thickets often in open woodland.
Song is a complex, jumbled warble lasting 2-3 seconds. During the breeding season males sing almost incessantly with only short pauses between songs. Males and females chatter during aggressive encounters or when danger threatens. (Two birds, Albany and Saratoga Counties, New York.)
Habitat: Woodland edges or clearings, suburbs, uses birdhouses.
Male's song is a vigorous 5-10 sec long jumble of notes and twitters. It is unlike any other bird's song. (One bird, Albany County, New York.)
Habitat: Nests in wide range of habitats, often near water, often in mixed or coniferous forests.
Male's song is typically two or three introductory notes followed by a variable dry trill. Each bird has many versions, but repeats one version many times before changing. (One song version of one bird, Vilas County Wisconsin).
Habitat: Breeds in wet meadows, margins of ponds, sphagnum bogs.
Eastern and western Marsh Wrens have different songs and repertoire sizes and may be different species. The songs of both subspecies start with one or more introductory notes followed by a harsh trill. However, both the introduction and the trill differ between them. Songs of the eastern subspecies usually start with a nasal buzz and sometimes a few additional introductory notes followed by a trill made up of entirely of tonal notes. Songs of the western subspecies also start with one or more introductory notes, but never the nasal buzz, and the trill often contains many grating, broadband notes. Broadband means that a broad range of frequencies is produced at any instant resulting in a grating or harsh sound, while tonal means that single tone or set of harmonic tones are produced at any instant, and the pitch or variation in pitch is dominant. The difference between broadband and tonal notes can be heard more easily by slowing down the playback (this also makes the pitch much lower). In this eastern Marsh Wren song played at normal and slow speed, the buzz is broadband and the trill is tonal. In these western Marsh Wren songs, the introductory notes are tonal and the trill notes are all broadband or a mixture of broadband and tonal. Eastern Marsh Wrens have a repertoire of about 40 songs and western Marsh Wrens have a repertoire of over 200 songs. (Five and four songs of two eastern birds from Albany County, New York, and songs of one western bird from Garden County, Nebraska.)
Habitat: Marshy areas.