The wren have always fascinated me. First, because they are tiny, we are talking about barely five or six grams and about ten centimeters in length, almost the size of our ruby-throated hummingbird or the cute wren. And then because they are constantly on the move. Acrobats accomplished, they fly from branch to branch, from tree to tree, disappear a fraction of a second to reappear immediately.
They are hyperactive. Which perhaps explains my fascination. Even when they are not flying, their wings constantly flicker. In fact, they are stunning. Passing like lightning, you will only see them for a moment in your telescope, even if they are numerous and nearby.
For Bob Roy, a photographer from Sainte-Adèle who regularly contributes to this column, immobilizing a wren is quite a challenge. “They’re swarming all the time,” he says. Even the automatic focusing of our cameras is not enough for the task. And if they explore a conifer, they literally disappear in the tree.
For a photographer, it is an incessant pursuit. It took me two weeks, two hours a day, so that I could keep twenty pictures worthy of the name. That says it all.
”This hyperactivity is easily explained. The smaller a warm-blooded animal, the higher its metabolism and the greater its energy requirements. The tiny furnace is operating at full capacity and we can understand that the quest for insects in all forms constitute almost the essential of the existence of the wren. We are also surprised that some of them reach the age of 5 years. There are two species in North America, the ruby-crowned wren and the golden-crowned wren.
They often travel together, but if you pay attention, they are relatively easy to identify. The golden crowned wren has a whitish eyebrow surmounted by a large black line. The female has a thin bright yellow cap, orange in the male, a special feature that is sometimes difficult to distinguish, except when the bird is upside down.
Her little cousin has a prominent white eye circle that goes almost all around the eye. The female does has no cap while the male has a ruby cap, usually very discreet if not invisible except when it is erect. For several days last spring, I had the chance to observe a very excited male, the well-trained little hoopoe, who was trying to hunt his reflection in a window.
Slightly shy birds The two species are present from Alaska to Newfoundland, but the golden-crowned wren nests mainly in coniferous forests up to the south of James Bay and in southwestern Quebec. , as well as around the Great Lakes. It winters further south to Florida and Texas, but some individuals overwinter in southwestern Quebec, often in the company of chickadees or the woodpecker. The nesting area of the ruby-crowned wren is much larger since it breeds from the treeline to Baja California, Mexico, at least in the West. It winters from the northern United States to Guatemala.
The ruby-crowned wren is distinguished from its cousin by a white eyebrow surmounted by a large black line above the eye. The yellowish band indicates that it is probably a female.
The behavior of wren is not yet well known.
We agree that these birds are not shy as we can often see. It is said that in an isolated northern territory, a researcher was able to easily capture golden-crowned wren in trees, as if it were ripe fruit, in order to ring them. These birds breed from April to July and can lay five to 11 eggs. In the southern part of its range, the golden-crowned wren can nest twice a year. These little people eat insects, but sometimes add berries to their menu, especially elderberries as well as grass seeds. They have a rather discreet cry, but the sounds emitted by the golden-crowned wren are sometimes so high that they are not perceptible to the