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The Savvy Wren

This plucky bird takes advantage of food, wherever and whenever it can!

Because many birds are largely silent in winter, it may seem that they have left us. But many remain, and even the shy and secretive sometimes reveal themselves. A Winter Wren may dart from hiding to grab a meal. The Winter Wren of the East and the Pacific Wren of the West are tiny woodland birds. Their songs are as elaborate as their plumage is drab. This wren is one of the few birds to be heard singing in winter.

Full Transcript

The Savvy Wren
By Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.

[Quiet, intermittent call of the Pacific Wren, forest ambient]

Because they are largely silent now in winter, we may think that most birds have left us. But many are still here, and, driven by necessity, even the shy and secretive will sometimes reveal themselves. For hunger, like politics, makes for unlikely companions. One such companion found me on a winter day while I was cutting firewood. [Sound of a chainsaw]

Slender crimson-topped lichen, called British soldiers, march along the loose bark of a downed tree. The chainsaw roars and chatters, spitting sawdust, a loud and fearsome force. Then from under the loose bark pops a large grub, as big as my thumbnail, glistening white. And in the wink of an eye, a Pacific Wren darts from hiding in the underbrush at my feet and gobbles the grub. The wren’s eagerness conveys its great good fortune in finding this feast in the dead of winter. [Song of the Pacific Wren]

The Pacific Wren — like its cousin, the Winter Wren of the East — finds food wherever it can, sometimes even in the face of apparent danger. And for the surprise and companionship, well, I was happy to provide. We think of ourselves as the observers of wildlife, but of necessity, and more often than we know, we are closely observed. [Quiet, intermittent call of the Pacific Wren]

You can always hear BirdNote shows again, on our website, I’m Mary McCann.


Song of the Winter Wren provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller.
Sound of the Winter Wren used with permission by Kevin Colver. Ambient provided by C. Peterson
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2016 Tune In to          February 2014/2016   Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# WIWR-03c-2011-02-27               WIWR-03d

Sights & Sounds

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