That Marsh Wren the other day has been piquing my curiosity,
so today I went out early to see if I could find one with as large a
vocabulary. Finding only one Marsh Wren in several stops, I resorted to
James Island County Park, where I know there are wrens, but also plenty
of heavy equipment noise, a by-product of repairs on the dock. When I got there,
three Painted Buntings were going at it. These are surely the most colorful birds
native to the United States, worthy of the colloquial name nonpareil,
but they also have a pretty warble. The heavy equipment was taking a rest,
so here are some songs.
This bunting is a Passerina, but unlike Indigo and Lazuli, a male usually has more than
one song-type. The focal bird, above, has at least four. See if you can pick them out. Also unlike
those other two bunting species, neighboring male Painteds have different song-types. You can test that hypothesis
with the cut below, which starts with two males that were counter-singing, then follows the parking lot bird,
switches to the dock bird, and ends with a long sequence from the parking lot bird. Or just sit
back and listen. The best of both cuts is toward their ends.