Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-96

Common name:

Winter Wren

Scientific name: Troglodytes hiemalis
Date: 14 December 2013
Time: 2:00 PM
Length of time observed: 5-10 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Unknown
Sex: Unknown
Location: Utah Water Research Laboratory, Logan
County: Cache
Distance to bird: ~10 feet
Optical equipment: Nikon Monarch 10x42 binoculars and Nikon DSLR with 80-400 mm lens
Weather: Cold and hazy
Light Conditions: Soft overhead light through hazy air
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Easily identified as a Pacific/Winter Wren by small size, habitat, shape, etc. Please see photographs and "Similar Species" section.
Song or call & method of delivery: I played a Pacific Wren song on arriving at the location because the habitat looked good and this species is sometimes missed on the Logan Christmas Bird Count. This wren flew in quickly and gave an agitated rattling call. Eventually the call slowed down into the more typical single and double note calls. I was struck by how similar they were in tone to a Song Sparrow. The calls sounded like "chimp" or "jimp". The calls were not familiar to me from my experience with Pacific Wren.
Habitat: Dense riparian vegetation along the edge of the Logan River just below First Dam.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Pacific Wren is the only really similar species. Pacific Wren was primarily eliminated by call, with a slightly longer, softer "jimp, jimp" call of this bird compared to the shorter, sharper, and more metallic "tk, tk" of Pacific Wren. Unfortunately, I do not have a recording of the call. The identification is supported by plumage as well: First, a very pale throat, easily the palest region of the whole bird and contrasting subtly but clearly with a darker diffuse band across the breast. Throat approaching an ashy whitish color, with a bit of a buff suffusion, but not as dark as Pacific Wren and contrasting more with the rest of the plumage. Sides of neck patterned. Crown browner, with some rufous tones but not as deep rufous as on Pacific Wren. Light spots in primaries almost white, contrasting strongly with the lighter spots in the secondaries, which are brownish in both species. The light spots in the primaries of a Pacific Wren contrast much less with the light spots in the secondaries than on this bird. Extensive white spotting in the wing coverts, typical of Winter Wren but usually much less extensive in Pacific Wren.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen and heard Pacific Wren a few times a year while living in Utah, and very frequently while living in Washington State. This is my first experience with Winter Wren.
References consulted:

Stokes Field Guide to Birds (Eastern and Western editions), Sibley Guide to Birds, Crossley ID Guide to Eastern Birds, Leukering & Pieplow 2010 Colorado Birds article "Pacific and Winter Wrens," various online photographs, recordings on, and this website:

Description from: Memory, notes, and photos
Observer: Ryan O'Donnell
Observer's address: 1098 Crescent Dr.
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Stephanie Cobbold and I found the bird together. At least three attempts to relocate this bird (or any Pacific/Winter Wren at that location) by myself and others were unsuccessful.
Date prepared: 21-22 December 2013
Additional material: Photographs