Meet the Bewick’s Wren. It is a year-round resident that feels right at home in the thickets and shrubby areas in the open country of the oak savanna landscape of Mount Pisgah Arboretum.
It has a brown back and wings, and its underside is gray and white. A distinguishing feature is its bold, white eyebrow stripe. Its tail is long, black-barred, tipped with white spots, and is often cocked upwards. Its bill is fairly long, pointy, and slightly down-curved.
It is a spirited, acrobatic bird. It tumbles, hops, and bounds its way through the landscape as it forages for food. It effortlessly flits from limb to limb in the underbrush, clings to the sides of trees, and hangs upside down as it explores. Most of its diet is “the eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults of insects and other small invertebrates (All About Birds).”
Its lively character also comes through in its song, which I can hear from a fair distance. Here is Peterson’s description of its voice: “Song suggests Song Sparrow’s, but thinner starting on two or three high notes, dropping lower, ending on a thin trill; calls a sharp vit, vit and buzzy dzzzzzt.” Click here to go to All About Birds to listen.
This is a great bird to get to know. If you walk slowly and quietly, it is quite tolerant of your presence. Also, it is easy to observe because It usually forages less than 10 feet off the ground. So you don’t get a kink in your neck scanning up in the tree canopy for it.
Nature is an inexhaustible source of wonder. Hope to see you out there.
See more of Bryan’s work here.
Bewick’s Wren Life History, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bewicks_Wren/lifehistory. Accessed 9 Nov. 2022.
Ehrlich, Paul R., et al. The Birder’s Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds: Including All Species That Regularly Breed North of Mexico. Simon & Schuster, 1988.
Peterson, Roger Tory, et al. Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America. 4th ed, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.