Winter Wren Welcomes Spring at Sam Smith Park

In early April migration hasn’t really commenced. That meant I had time to go to Colonel Sam Smith Park in Toronto to admire the male Harlequin Duck one more time before he was likely to disappear for his summer quarters. I enjoyed watching him but I was even more pleased to get to watch a Winter Wren that had either over-wintered or arrived back early ready to greet the spring.

Photo of Winter Wren Up on naturalcrooksdotcom

How Does a Winter Wren Feed When There’s Snow on the Ground?

Photo of Winter Wren Tipped Up on naturalcrooksdotcom

I can’t speak for every wren, but this particular Winter Wren was searching the lower bark of every twig on every shrub, sapling and tree along the edge of the marina lagoon.

Photo of Winter Wren Tail on naturalcrooksdotcom
Most birds prefer to turn their backs on me.

This spot was sheltered and warmed by the sun. Presumably that helped the Wren cope with the cold temperatures but it may also have been warming up some insects. If so, and they stirred, it would make them easier for this hungry hunter to find them. I did see a few midges so it’s possible the wren was also gleaning them from their perches in the sunshine.

Photo of Winter Wren Branch Col Sam on naturalcrooksdotcom

The Winter Wren I watched at Lasalle Marina in Burlington had used a different strategy: That bird had been checking every bit of exposed ground under the large boulders along the path and at the bases of the larger trees. The area it was working through also faced the sunshine, though, so it had that in common.

Photo of Winter Wren Back on naturalcrooksdotcom
Winter Wrens have very small tails and when puffed up look almost round.

I spent over half an hour watching the Winter Wren at Sam Smith.

Photo of Winter Wren Snow on naturalcrooksdotcom

As an unexpected bonus, I also found an early (or very late) Ruby-crowned Kinglet and several amusing American Tree Sparrows. One good bird often leads to another!

Photo of Ruby Crowned Kinglet Snowy Twigs on naturalcrooksdotcomThis Ruby-crowned Kinglet didn’t seem to mind exploring tight spaces as it hunted for insects.

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