29 March 2010

Carolina Wrens Again in Midtown Omaha Despite Severe Winter

A sultry day of late-March when the winds were still somewhat subdued and the snow was not all gone, meant it was a good morning to walk along and survey what birds were present at a couple of parklands in midtown Omaha.

Nothing special was expected, whilst hiking along Happy Hollow Creek, then Wood Creek.

And there was no exciting bird seen on the scene.

One especial observation was a bunch of Wood Ducks on the east side of the Wood Creek Pond. Their whistles were especially notable and prevalent in comparison to the lesser calls of the Northern Cardinal or American Robin. The duck drakes were competing with the invasive European Starlings to claims the tree cavities that would provide a fine place for their mate to lay eggs and raise a brood.

After an interlude in the library, the route for this survey continued on the west side of Memorial Park. Nothing special here either, at least not until reaching the north end of Wood Creek, near Underwood Avenue.

Into the mid-day scene there burst forth the rapturous and vivacious call of the Carolina Wren.

Wow! What an unexpected delight.

The songster certainly had to be seen to be appreciated, so the walking was went into a pause mode. After some moments, a dun wren popped forth on a tree branch just a short few feet away. Its details were obvious as it chattered as if my presence was an intrusion.

The minutes watching this bird were sublime, and appreciated for what was wrought during the former winter season, now nearly entirely gone. Within a bit more of an interlude, there came the realization that there were two of the Carolina Wrens.

How grand to have an apparent pair in a woody habitat where these songsters had been but after the decimating times of snow-falls with big depths, and dramatic cold, had been unheard and unseen for nearly four months.

The last observation was one seen on the west side of Shadow Lake, in Elmwood Park, where there was were morning fresh depths of snow, and the prognosis for the wren was not good, which was readily apparent in subsequent outings. There were no Carolina Wrens heard again while bicycling or walking among natural habitats in Elmwood and eastern Memorial Park, along what had formerly been a Happy Hollow for the species.

The wrens were gone. And this included the diminutive Winter Wren.

In March of 2008 and 2009, there were notations in my records which indicated that these wrens were about.

The March morning now gone this year, was a new indication of occurrence. Formerly, they had occurred in Elmwood Park, through March and into early and mid-April. Then nothing time and time again when many other species were busy with their summer home-making.

A gap of 75 days occurred. There were wrens, but it was their cousin the House Wren that was noticed, and not the preeminent Carolina Wren., which were heard again until July 5th in 2009, and then were noted on numerous occasions in the Omaha parklands in the subsequent months.

The best count was four heard early in December 2009.

Then severe winter happened. Three days later, the woods were struck silent. Week after week it was a struggle for birds to find needed nourishment with multiple inches of snow upon the ground, as well as frigid air temperatures.

Whether the pair noted today, with conditions warming in the early spring season, survived in the neighborhood, perhaps feeding at a backyard feeder, is not known. However they made it, and it makes no difference that they might have moved in from some other local place, their renewed existence is profound, and for two to be together is an exciting indication of what may occur as the warm season beckons.

Hopefully the pair of wrens will continue in a happy bliss and raise a brood in the woods of Wood Creek, midtown Omaha. Sing on wrens ...

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