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Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday's Foto

In 2010 this tiny North American wren was split taxonomically between the eastern and western species. Previously known entirely as the Winter Wren, its western cousin is now called the Pacific Wren. David Sibley has a nice comparison of the differences here. It is also closely related to the Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes).

Despite its common name one is more likely to encounter this species around Brooklyn and NYC during the spring and fall migration and not during the winter. The Winter Wren breeds in coniferous forests from British Columbia east to Newfoundland, and south to New England and the Great Lakes region. They overwinter across the eastern half of the United States, south to the Gulf Coast.

This diminutive, chocolate-brown bird with its stubby, cocked tail can be found hopping along fallen trees and roots in dense tangles foraging for food. It can sometimes even be mistaken for a mouse. Their diet is predominantly insects eating ants, beetles, caterpillars, flies, millipedes, mites and spiders. During the fall and winter they also eat berries. Weighing, one average, only 9 grams is one of North America’s smallest birds. Nevertheless, their song is surprisingly explosive. According to Birdwatcher’s Digest “On a per-pound basis, the winter wren generates more song for its weight than any other North American songbird.”

The Winter Wren's conservation status according to the IUCN Red List is Least Concern.

It’s scientific name, Troglodytes hiemalis, means cave dweller, of winter.

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