GARDEN WARBLER (Sylvia borin)

Fauvette des jardins

 

This is the first of two birds that are really difficult to separate by voice - the Garden Warbler and the Blackcap.

The Garden Warbler is found up to the tree line but is really a lowland species most abundant below about 800m. Whilst it does inhabit gardens it really favours somewhat scrubby vegetation where it remains mostly hidden (just like a Blackcap), and since it is a generally small dull brown bird this does not help with identification. Whilst it will sing out in the open occasionally most song is delivered from a concealed perch often delivered as snatches in between foraging - it always to be very busy whenever I successfully see it ! The song is a bewildering arrangements of almost random warbles from which it is impossible to derive any particular pattern:

 

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Here is a sonogram, but again it is of marginal help in trying to work out what is going on:

 

 

As I said, this and the Blackcap have very similar songs, but it is the quality of delivery that helps distinguish them. A Garden Warbler seems to have more fluid, mellow notes, some of which swing about a bit (you can see this at least in the sonogram), it also has a more hurried feel to it than a Blackcap song which is slower and more deliberate. Finally Garden Warblers sometimes deliver very long sequences - the second verse in the following recording (starting at 11 secs) lasts about 41 seconds and is a long delivery of seemingly wild singing of the kind you never hear from a Blackcap:

 

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