A few weeks ago I was working out in the garden and noticed a small bird flutter into the garden. It was a Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). This bird didn’t look like the Bewick’s Wrens I was used to seeing. It was more mottled looking than others I had seen. It wasn’t very active and appeared to be molting. I believe the bird pictured above (click on photos for full sized images) is possibly a young bird going through its prejuvenal molt.

A century ago, the Bewick’s Wren was beloved as the “house wren” of the Appalachians and the Midwest. Today, the species has all but disappeared east of the Mississippi River and has declined in western parts of its range, most likely caused by the expansion of the House Wren which destroys and removes their eggs from nest sites1.

This is what I am used to seeing. In the Spring, when the male Bewick’s Wren sings to establish a territory. You can hear his cheerful song here.

A brighter, more cinnamon color and a more distinct white eyebrow.

I don’t know. Maybe this is simply a molting adult? What do you think?

Here’s a shot of him under the zucchini plants picking aphids off the leaves.

And finally, a view of the springtime Bewick’s Wren at the end of his photo shoot!

References: 1Birds of North America Online

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.