|Our Feathered Friends, Jan. 12|
|Wednesday, January 12, 2011|
By RAY POPE
My grandmother on my father’s side had what I thought was a pet groundhog. Little did I realize she was fattening it up to eat. I wonder if it would taste like chicken?
Thinking back to the 1970s, I had a piece of junk that was supposed to be a bird house. I kind of did a little surgery on it and had the house in good working order before too long. My grandfather on my father’s side was a carpenter, and must have passed on enough knowledge to help me through life being able to do some wood repairs.
Anyway, I placed the birdhouse under the eve on the back porch and about two days later there was some activity. Many of my readers are familiar with a Wren, whether it is a Carolina or a House Wren.
This old friend used to be in my back yard for two or three years in a row. If you didn’t know what to look for you might take him for a Carolina Wren. Anytime you see some bird, don’t underestimate what you might be looking at. There are many subtle differences, what we call “field marks,” on some bird species that may be similar to another bird. The Wren I’m talking about is the Bewick’s Wren, (Thryomanes bewickii). Many of the older birders would call it the Buick Wren, like the car. There was another location where I could always count on finding it. Many times we would find the Wren over at the old store in Norene where the late Clyde Williams lived. Year after year we would include it on our spring bird count. Now it seems that the Wren has moved west since the arrival of the House Wren.
The Bewick’s Wren is a Wren native to North America. It is about 5 1/4 inches in length, gray brown above, white below with a long white eyebrow. While similar to the Carolina Wren, it has a long tail that is tipped in white. Its vocals are loud and very melodious, much like the songs of other Wrens. You may find it living around thickets, brush piles, and open woodland scrubby areas, usually near streams.
Its range is from southern British Columbia, southern Ontario to southwestern Pennsylvania south to Arkansas and the northern Gulf States. Bewick’s Wrens are non migratory. Like I mentioned, this Wren used to live here in our town, but now it has moved westward to Arkansas and other points west.
Wayne Nowlin called the other day describing a strange bird at his feeders that he had not seen before. After a brief description the bird was most likely a House Finch. Wayne is going to try and take me a picture so we can be sure.