Sunday, February 11, 2007


I snapped this picture of a House Wren this morning while I was out birding the neighborhood. I was out for almost 4 hours and had a record morning -- 55 species! I had especially good luck seeing some birds that we birders call "skulkers". These are small cryptically colored birds that love woodpiles or dense ground-level underbrush. It offers them great protection and good foraging for bugs and such. (Many of these birds scratch the ground like a chicken to find food.)

Skulkers can be very frustrating to identify because often they just pop up out of the brush for a few seconds, see you, then dive back down never to return. Many of them can be identified just by sound, but it's always satisfying to get a good look at one. Besides the House Wren, some other skulkers I saw this morning were Brown Thrasher (related to the Northern Mockingbird), Spotted Towhee, Song Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. I also found a couple birds that prefer skulking around the creek: Green Heron and Wilson's Snipe.

Two common skulkers found in the neighborhood year-round are Carolina Wren and Bewick's Wren. They both have distinctive songs which you can hear at the linked pages. Give them a listen on the web pages, and then listen for these wrens in your yard or on your next walk!

No comments: