Posted by: atowhee | February 11, 2020

WRENS, NOT PACIFIC WITH SMALL “p”

There were two very agitated Pacific Wrens, not pacific at all.  They were wintering in the sword ferns on a slope beneath mature, dense conifers along the west edge of Ed Grenfell Park.  One was angry enough at the dog and me that he came out and gave us a good looking over, and a series of threatening wing ruffles.  Wow, were we ever chagrined at our very existence in HIS chosen forest:PW PRFCT2 (2)This is our smallest wren, along with his eastern cousin, the Winter Wren.  One gram lighter on average than Bewick’s Wren.  One-third of an ounce per body.  Four inches long, 5.5 inch wing span.  “Flying mouse” some early ornithologist called him.  Likes shades and damp and ferns and being near the ground.  Not a tree-top singer, this one.
Some comparisons:  Red-breasted Nuthatch might share the same conifer grove.  He’s a half inch long (and not nearly so much tail), and has a three-inch longer wingspan. And a weight of an entire gram more. Hutton’s Vireo also has longer body, more wingspan and 2 grams more weight. All the Empidonax clan are larger in every measure, as well.  Even the miniscule Chestnut-backed, our smallest chickadee, is slightly larger all around.  The Bushtit  is actually longer and has greater wingspan, but its long tail means it is  svelte compared to the pudgy wren, weighing  just over 5 grams!PW (2)PW FACE (2)PW FLUTTR (2)PW2 (2)PW4 (2)PW6 (2)PW7 (2)PW8 (2)PW9 (2)PW10 (2)PW12 (2)PW15 (2)PW16 (2)PWPRFCT (2)PW LAST (2)It was a WRENching decision but I had to walk away despite this bird’s love of attention.  I suspect in a previous life he was a twitterer and a vlogger, maybe even an Instagram addict.  I did promise to photograph him some more, should we meet again…

Baker Creek Road, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 11, 2020
14 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Red-tailed Hawk  5
American Kestrel  3
Steller’s Jay  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Bushtit  30
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Varied Thrush  8
American Robin  75
Dark-eyed Junco  10
Song Sparrow  1
Brewer’s Blackbird  X

Pheasant Hill Rd. & pond, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 11, 2020
6 species

Mallard  X
Hooded Merganser  X
Pied-billed Grebe  X
Western Bluebird  1
American Robin  X
Dark-eyed Junco  X


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