Mystery Wren on the feeder

Mystery wren on Feeder Cam

Mystery wren on Feeder Cam

We had an interesting visitor at the feeders this week. As you may have read in my 2013 Yard Bird Wish List post, I have been hoping for a Carolina wren. When I saw this bird on Feeder Cam, I immediately noticed the wren shape and bold white eyestripe, which really got me excited. But something seemed a little off – the tail is quite long, the color more drab that I’d expect.

So I was thinking Carolina wren, but I’m not an expert on them, so I posted the image in the Minnesota Birding Facebook page and many people commented on it. I also posted to the MOU mailing list to get some additional input, and got some great responses from that also. Some thought it might be Carolina, and others suggested Bewick’s wren, which looks correct but would be very unusual. There were some additional suggestions like rock wren or even house wren in bad light. I wouldn’t rule out any of those, because with just a single image like this, identifying a bird (especially if a rare one) is very difficult. But that’s all I have to go on.

I arrived home about 1 1/2 hours after the bird appeared, but couldn’t find any sign of it. I sat on the patio and played various wren calls. Tried the same then next morning and then the next afternoon I spent more time outside on the patio and walking around the neighborhood. A Carolina wren would definitely be interesting and somewhat unusual, although not unheard of. If it were indeed a Bewick’s wren, then that would be big news and I think people would want to see it, so I was really hoping to find it again. Not only would it be a rare Minnesota sighting, but Bewick’s wrens are in decline east of the Mississippi, so that would have been really cool to see one and be able to report it with a confirmed ID.

Unfortunately I never did see or hear any sign of the bird beyond the one Feeder cam image. Many people took the time to look and comment, and I learned a lot from the discussion. I appreciate everyone’s input!

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