Bewick’s Wren

Thryomanes bewickii

The Bewick’s Wren is a western bird that lives in thickets, open woodlands and scrubby areas, often near streams. Their appearance most closely resembles the Carolina Wren of the east. In past times, the Bewick’s Wren ranged over most of North America. Scientists believe that the rapid expansion of the House Wren is responsible for the decline of the Bewick’s Wren, which is now relegated to lands west of the Mississippi Valley.

Science recognises as many as 20 subspecies of Bewick’s Wrens. Two island members of this tribe are extinct due to overgrazing by sheep and goats. In San Diego County, where I’m from, T. b. correctus is the expected subspecies, while in eastern California, we expect T. b. eremophilus. In fact, there are seven subspecies named for California alone. Researchers describe some subspecies as grayer (SW California), or more reddish-brown (eastern populations), or browner (Pacific coast). We have also described call notes and other vocalizations to differentiate the subspecies.

While visiting Texas I briefly met the Bewick’s Wren, but I was unsuccessful at capturing images on the occasion. Most of my meetings have been near my southern California home, but I’ve also met them further north in California, in Arizona, and New Mexico.

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