Thursday, December 14, 2017

Inspired by a Wren

On this cold, bleak winter morning, there wasn't much to cheer about as I wandered the trails of the Columbia Audubon Sanctuary, in central Missouri.  Low, gray clouds stretched above the brown landscape which was broken only by the white bark of sycamores and green clumps of eastern redcedar.

The usual winter residents were encountered, dominated by chickadees, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches and house finches.  A red-tailed hawk shrieked in the distance, a noisy flock of crows called from a wooded hillside and a lone eastern towhee scratched for his meal beneath the dry leaf litter.

About to head home, my attention was drawn to a patch of thickets, where a tiny bird moved among the tangles; it was a winter wren, down from Canada to spend the colder months in balmy Missouri.  Despite its small size, this hardy and energetic bird survives the winter by scouring dense vegetation and rotting logs for spiders, insects and other invertebrates, supplementing that diet with berries.  On such a raw morning, it was inspiring to watch that diminutive visitor, free to fly off to the Tropics but content to endure a cold, damp winter here in the Heartland.