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Wrens Learning To Sing

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A wren built her nest in a box, so situated that a family had an
opportunity of observing the mother bird instructing the young ones in the
art of singing peculiar to the species. She fixed herself on one side of
the opening in the box, directly before her young, and began by singing
over her whole song very distinctly. One of the young then attempted to
imitate her. After proceeding through a few notes, its voice broke, and it
lost the tune. The mother immediately recommenced where the young one had
failed, and went very distinctly through the remainder. The young bird
made a second attempt, commencing where it had ceased before, and
continuing the song as long as it was able; and when the note was again
lost, the mother began anew where it stopped, and completed it. Then the
young one resumed the tune and finished it. This done, the mother sang
over the whole series of notes a second time with great precision; and a
second of the young attempted to follow her. The wren pursued the same
course with this as with the first; and so with the third and fourth. It
sometimes happened that the young one would lose the tune three, four, or
more times in the same attempt; in which case the mother uniformly began
where they ceased, and sung the remaining notes; and when each had
completed the trial, she repeated the whole strain. Sometimes two of the
young commenced together. The mother observed the same conduct towards
them as when one sang alone. This was repeated day after day, and several
times in a day.





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