Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-23

Common name:

Winter Wren

Scientific name: Troglodgytes hiemalis
Date: 20 February 2013
Time: 12:00 pm
Length of time observed: 40 minutes
Number: 1
Location: Grove Creek Canyon, Pleasant Grove
County: Utah
Distance to bird: 10-20 feet.
Optical equipment: Kowa spotting scope and 8x40 Leopold Bins
Weather: sunny, windy
Light Conditions: good
Description:        Size of bird: Small
(Description:)       Basic Shape: short tailed wren
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: brown
(Description:)            Bill Type: thin and pointy
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Small wren with thin pointy bill. Brown all over, with a pale eyebrow. Throat and sides of face a little paler brown than the body with some pale speckling. Belly and undertail darker, faint dark streaks on the flanks. Short tail cocked up.

I uploaded some videos to YouTube. You can find them at the following links. It was windy out and I was breathing close to the microphone. Try to ignore those noises. - the bird is not in this video but it is a clear recording of the call note that made me think this bird was a Winter Wren. - This video shows what looks like a pale speckled throat and face. The wren is making a fast chattering call. - This is a longer video. Close up of the wren but I was shooting through a thousand branches so it isn't a great view. The bird is making the "jip-jip" call.

The photos I submitted are stills from these videos.
Song or call & method of delivery: Made a double call note "Jit-Jit" Sounding similar to a Song Sparrow in quality. See recording and videos. It also made a fast staccato scolding call. You can hear it in one of the videos. I compared the recordings I made to recordings of both Winter and Pacific Wrens on the website and I feel the bird sounded like a Winter Wren.
Behavior: Skulking low in the thick brush, close to the ground. It would disappear deep in the brush then pop up in a completely different area, call and scold for a minute, then disappear again. It never sat out in the open. All my views of the bird were looking through a bunch of twigs.
Habitat: Thick brushy habitat at the mouth a canyon in the foothills. It was in a thicket of skunkbrush, aka squawbush sumac.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
A Pacific Wren would have a drier, harder, sharper call note. Most Pacific Wrens would show a warmer, more solid brown color on the throat and the sides of the face.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen and heard several Pacific Wrens. But I'm not overly familiar with them. I have heard a few Winter Wrens back east. I identified these as Winter by range, after the split.
References consulted: Sibley Guide.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Eric Huish
Observer's address: 850 E 100 N Pleasant Grove, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Bryan Shirley saw it the day after.
Date prepared: 21 February 2013
Additional material: Photos, Audio Tape, Video [links in write-up]