I found my first wren yesterday. I’m sure it was a wren; small, with lighter under parts, short wings it kept flicking a bit (reminiscent of the American Redstart but to a much lesser degree)…and a tail it sort of cocked up. The bird was in my front yard, on the fence where the Virginia Creeper’s autumnal colors are fading as leaves fall, leaving bunches of dark, nearly black berries shriveling in the sun of a crisp, pre-winter day.
I watched the little bird for several minutes; quite sure I’ve never seen one like it before. I remember I saw it wag its tail up over its back in that classic wren posture. I thought it odd that the bird tried, without success it seemed, to remove berries from the vine. It must have been too light to pull hard enough.
I phished and clicked at the bird, it watched me for awhile, then went back to jumping from fence to vine, hopping through to hanging berries; tugging on one while jumping to a spot on the ground and then back up to the vine for yet another try. My impatient dog, rearing up like the pony he nearly is, became too rambunctious in his greeting to me and finally scared the bird away.
I didn’t have my glasses on, I didn’t have binoculars in my hands and I had arms full of groceries; no, I didn’t go chase the bird. But I did note as much as I could, hurried into the house, gave my dog a hug and went straight for Sibley’s book to discover wrens.
This bird’s tail was not overly short, and while I didn’t notice an ‘eyebrow’, I did note almost a speckling under its face. I think noticed the tail was darker than the back. And that the belly was decidedly lighter than the head and wings. There were no bars on the wings.
Having done my homework, I believed I saw a Bewick’s Wren…based on where I saw the bird, where I live, how it sounded (sharp little ‘spiks’ in answer to my pshing); but the length of the bill is troubling. So was the fact that that bug-eating bird was observed eating berries. Suddenly, I’m not so sure. Darn, I wish I’d had my glasses.
On a hunch, this morning I grabbed the binoculars and headed for the front porch. I found the bird!
I’ve posted two photos I quickly snapped through a window. One gives a fairly good picture of the bird, the other at least shows that ‘speckling’ I’d noticed under its chin. This is no wren, me thinks. But what; a warbler? A sparrow? Veros have eye-rings, but not speckled or streaked throats. It was more gray than brown…and quite small. To give you a perspective on size, the hog-wire fence, as its called, (which the bird is sitting next to), has a wire grid of 2” x 4”. The bird left when another showed up; the two mixed it up a bit and flew up to the trees. I’ll watch for more photo ops.
Your comments would be greatly appreciated!
[Addendum: I appreciate all the comments left here...and helping me determine exactly what the bird was that I'd watched that morning. As an update, I finally found an excellent photo of a Hermit Thrush, from from the digital repository of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, that I'm allowed to share here.]