Sunday, February 16, 2020

Bewick’s Wren

A furst sign of spring on 12 February 2020! Erika and I strolled along a trail connecting the Tumwater Historical Park and the south pool of Caiptol Lake. This Bewick’s Wren vociferously sang its loud, bouncy trill. (Only the males of this species sing.) We stood kind of transfixed, which is too bad, since we could have recorded the song with our cell phone and included it in our eBird list. After the bird flew, I vowed to record the song during our return trip—the bird’s presence seemed likely since it appeared to be defending territory.
As luck would have it, the bird was not at its perch when we walked back about 30 minutes later. But a few feet further down the trail, the wren flew out and landed nearby. The bird behaved quite oddly. We can only assume this behavior was directed towards us. Mind you, we were silent throughout the bird’s display. We never made any of the squeaking or spishing sounds often used by birders to attract birds. During the display the bird made loud, low buzzing noises. Kennedy and White (2013) mention that Bewick’s Wrens defend territory againsts House Wrens and Song Sparrows, but we observed no other birds during this display. They also report that these wrens give “staccato scolding notes in response to human intruders.” 
First the bird spread its tail and wagged it back and forth horizontally—not up and down as you might expect for a wren. Then, even more remarkably, as it continued the tail spreading and wagging, the bird twice fluttered both wings, but without taking to the air. You can see this in the final photo. Finally the wren flew away.

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