Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Like Mice with Wings

One of the more common forest birds here on the Olympic Peninsula is the Pacific Wren. Formerly considered the same bird as the Winter Wren, it was split out as a separate species back in 2010.
Do you see me?
Like most wrens the Pacific Wren is small and brown. But this one is even smaller than most, dull in color, and it likes to skulk around on the ground in heavy cover. We hear them rustling around much more often than we see them and have come to think of them as "mice with wings".

We finally got one to pop out of deep cover long enough to get a few decent pictures. It continues to be gray and cloudy here most of the time, so pictures in the deep woods are a challenge to say the least!

We're hoping that when breeding season gets started in the next few weeks these guys might become a little more vocal and easier to find.

One interesting field mark for the Pacific Wren (as well as the Winter Wren) is their noticeably short tail. Most wrens have a longish tail that they like to hold up over their backs. It is a distinctive posture that lets us know they are wrens!

But the Pacific wren has the shortest tail of all the wrens, and it really stands out when you finally see one well.



  1. We have a cactus wren who spends a lot of time on a light pole next to our site. Sure enjoy their "car engine starting" song.

    1. The Cactus Wren is on the opposite end of the size spectrum. They win the prize for largest North American Wren. And by a good bit!