Big Bend Rock Wrens

Salpinctes obsoletus

The Rock Wren is a wide ranging Western bird that can be found west to the Mississippi Valley from Southern Canada into Mexico. Most birds living in California, Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas are non-migrants, but some birds in summer will travel as far north as the inter-mountain USA states and southern Canada to breed.

This bird is believed not to ever drink water, but meets all its water needs from the food it eats.  Arid and inhospitable places to humans might mean paradise to the hardy Rock Wren. Nests are often built under rock crevices and for reasons not fully understood, they often will lay small paving stones in front of the entrance to the nest cavity.

The North American Breeding Bird Survey data shows a 47% decline in population between 1966 and 2014. I could not find any conclusions about why the birds are in decline, but with such a large range, there seem to be enough birds around that science has not deemed them as threatened.

I always enjoy being in the company of wrens, and Rock Wrens are no exception. Most of my encounters with these birds have been in dry, brushy hillside country in east San Diego County, but I’ve also met them in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, Arizona and New Mexico deserts, on talus slopes inside the Snake River Canyon in Idaho, and in the brushy desert of Big Bend in Texas.

This gallery is restricted to the Rock Wrens I met in Big Bend Texas. To meet the birds from these other locations, visit the <Species Gallery>.

Click map markers to reveal further information