Winter Wren shimmy-shake

Melissa and I took advantage of the sunny and relatively warm weather a few days ago and walked around at Burke Lake near my parent’s house. This is a public county park, so no threats of trespassing here!

Winter Wren taken somewhere in New York. Photo by gribley on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

We found a cute Winter Wren crawling through the clubmosses and dead leaves looking very much like a dark brown mouse. The bird was doing this weird shimmying of its entire body except the head as it moved around. If we only brought a camera… Was this a strategy to stir up whatever insects might be lingering in the leaf litter? Or, as Melissa wondered, does it have too many parasites? I can’t find any information for free online about this behavior and I don’t have access to the online Birds of North America.

We also enjoyed close views of acrobatic Tufted Titmice dangling over our heads or hopping about on the ground. A few Carolina Chickadees, a pair of Northern Cardinals, and a Carolina Wren rounded out this winter flock–can’t see this combination in New Mexico!

The lake itself had about an acre of open water near the fishing dock which held, in addition to Mallards and Canada Geese, a Common Merganser, some Ruddy Ducks, a scaup or two, and a few Ring-necked Ducks. I found three Herring Gulls mixed with the Ring-billeds, the first I recall seeing at the park.

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