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Songbirds undergo a sensitive period in which exposure to adult song is necessary for normal vocal development. During this period, a template is formed and later used as a model for comparison via auditory feedback. In montane white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha, whose song typically consists of four to five distinct segments (phrases), exposure to syntactically overlapping phrase pairs during the sensitive period provides the minimum sufficient information for song assembly; exposure to isolated phrases is insufficient. This suggests that a template representing phrase-pair information is sufficient for guiding normal song production. However, birds may also store and use the additional information...