Wrens have always held a soft spot in my heart, as over this particular winter, I managed to add an excellent photo of a Bewick’s Wren.
These Oklahoma breeding birds are found around riparian areas, brushy habitats, and open woodlands that can be found in small towns or larger suburbia. They will nest nearly anywhere, and a big conflict of interest will include the more aggressive House Wren. The House Wren will evict Bewick’s Wren, and drive it out of the area.
Bewick’s are much less migratory and will seek House Wren habitats when they migrate in the fall. Unfortunately, they will be driven away in the spring when the House Wren returns.
Since winter was wet and habitat never froze over more than a few days, budding trees got a head start this spring. This also means that plant growth also began a little earlier and is thicker, so our sweet little Bewick’s Wren has found a more ideal habitat and may not conflict with our more dominant House Wren.
Last weekend was beautiful, and even though mornings were a little cool, they warmed up rapidly, so our male Bewick’s were taking advantage of the weather, perched high in trees to claim their territory and seek out wandering females with most intricate song patterns.
The two males that I located last Sunday, one already had a female in tow. It is possible that the second did, she just did not avail herself to my binoculars. Perhaps we will have a nest or two in 10 days, or at least I hope so.
Populations of the Bewick’s Wren are less than they once were, due to the nature of the House Wren of the Appalachians and Midwest destroying nests. Also causing a negative influence is pesticide use, severe winters, as well as competition with Song, Carolina, and the fervent House Sparrows.
Bewick’s Wren is a lover of upland thickets and hills, as well as brush piles, outbuildings, abandoned mailboxes and cars, and with an amiable climate as ours, will tend to be double-, if not triple-brooded.
The young will have specific dialects depending upon where they were raised, and will even add the repertoires of neighboring adults. This creates a very large range of songs, some types of which will gradually change over distance.
Since they are so curious and noisy, they can be heard before they are seen. They will also move quickly and drop down into their scrubby habitations where nests tend to be located. One may discover a nest site, but it will be difficult to find in view of the natural environs.
Their distribution will be sparsest in the eastern and northwestern parts of the state. It further makes sense that the winter populations are not far from spring and summer counts. They roost singly in apt habitat overnight, especially within both live honeysuckle and its off-season dormant tendrils.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!
Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and professional photographer living in Stillwater.