This small, rapidly-moving bird is an annual visitor to the Oregon Coast. It has a compact, ball-like body with short, rounded wings and a short tail. Most specimens are a reddish-brown (often known as rufous) on the upper body with a lighter, heavily speckled belly. The bird’s bill is short and sharply-pointed, the perfect tool for rooting around in understory and rotting logs in search of insects.
When breeding, the male Pacific Wren will fashion a number of burrows called “cock nests” with the female choosing one. Once chosen, the nest is lined with grass, lichen, moss and other vegetation. The wren will usually take advantage of naturally occurring nooks and crannies – such as those found in trees, rocky outcrops or even buildings – to nest. Its preference for these tiny, dark hiding places is reflected in its scientific name which loosely translates to “cave-dweller.” A breeding pair will generally produce five to eight speckled eggs.
The Pacific Wren was recently reclassified as its own species. Prior to 2010, it was considered the same animal as the Eastern Wren which occurs throughout the eastern part of North America. This species can also be found in Europe where it is simply referred to as “Wren.”
The Pacific Wren is considered a year-round resident on the coasts of the Pacific Northwest, although they will migrate in other areas as cold weather approaches. It is found in coniferous forests dominated by spruce and fir trees. In densely wooded areas, the bird can usually be heard long before it is seen as it produces a long, complex song.