Winter Wren

Winter Wren
Credit: Tom Vezo

There is something mysterious to me about the Winter Wren. Its song is loud, long, exuberant, and, yes, so beautiful with its rollicking trills and warbles that it can startle you. And this from a bird barely larger than your big toe. Camping next to one would only be recommended for the earliest of risers.

Winter Wrens love to live in the cool mossy confines of northern forests. Amid the blow-downs and brush piles, they skulk about like mice, giving you brief tantalizing views through the branches as they excitedly chirp and chatter while bouncing on their short legs.

You might think such a tiny bird would not be hardy and might need to migrate south to tropical climates for the winter. But yet again, the Winter Wren surprises – in most of its range it is one of the first to arrive in spring and last to leave, some even lingering into January here in Maine where you may see one sneaking along the edge of a brook searching for insects. And along the Pacific Coast they are year-round residents even in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands of Alaska. Migratory populations spend the winter entirely north of Mexico. Most of those that breed in Canada’s Boreal winter within the bottomland forests of the southeast U.S.

To hear the song, click here:  Winter Wren (.mp3) (sound courtesy of Matt Medler).

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