California Nature

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California Wrens
Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 79 species world wide and 9 North American species, and 8 Californian species. A group of wrens has many collective nouns, including a "chime", "flight", "flock", and "herd" of wrens.

the cactus wren is found in desert areas of California natureThe Sedge Wren is a tiny, secretive wren of grassy marshes. This wren is Buff-colored, with finely streaked crown and back. The sedge wren has pale brown eyebrows, a short barred tail,, short bill and the legs and feet are pink. One of the most nomadic territorial birds, in any area the sedge wren may be abundant one year, absent the next. Best distinguished by voice and habitat, the sedge wren is most often seen as it is flushed from grass and flies off, only to drop from view a few feet away. Sedge wrens have a distinctive flight, their wings vibrate stiffly as the bird seems to float over the ground. This wren nests in dense tall sedges and grasses in wet meadows, hayfields, and marshes.

Like other wrens, it builds "dummy" nests, often hidden in dense marsh grass. The sedge wren is also known as the Short-billed Marsh Wren and the Grass Wren. There are about 20 different subspecies which are found across most of the Americas. Some of these forms may be separate species. The Sedge Wren has a large range, estimated globally at 6,600,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas and nearby island nations, this bird prefers savanna, grassland, or wetland ecosystems.

The house wren often nests in odd places such as mailboxes, flowerpots, and even the pockets of coats on clotheslines. When competing for a nest site, the House Wren may throw out the nest, eggs, and even the young of other hole-breeding birds. In the process this bird may kill its competitors, or if they are more powerful, it harasses them by filling the hole with its own nest material. If House Wrens return in spring to find an old nest still in place, they usually remove it stick by stick, then proceed to rebuild, often using the very material they've just discarded. Outside the breeding season, House Wrens are shy and much less in evidence than when they are singing during the breeding season. The house wren is a tiny bird with a short tail, often held cocked over the back. This wren is dusky brown above, paler below, and has no distinctive markings.

House wrens are usually 11 to 13 cm long and weigh 10 to 12 g. Males and females are identical in coloration, but males are slightly larger in some traits. House wrens breed between late April and early September, with the majority of clutches started in mid-late May. The males are the first to return from migration and establish territory for nesting within a few hours/days of arrival. The females return in time to complete the nest after choosing a male.

the sedge wren is found in California nature and most of the United StatesThe Cactus Wren is a species of wren that is native to the southwestern United States southwards to central Mexico. The Cactus Wren is the largest North American wren, at 18–23 cm. long. Unlike the smaller wrens, the Cactus Wren is easily seen. It has the loud voice characteristic of wrens. The Cactus Wren is much less shy than most of the family. Its marked white eyestripe, brown head, barred wings and tail, and spotted tail feathers make it easy to identify. Like most birds in its genus, it has a slightly curved bill.

The Cactus Wren primarily eats insects, including ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and wasps. Occasionally, it will take seeds and fruits. Foraging begins late in the morning and is versatile; the cactus wren will search under leaves and ground litter and overturn objects in search of insects, as well as feeding in the foliage and branches of larger vegetation. Increasing temperatures cause a shift in foraging behavior to shady and cooler microclimates, and activity slows during hot afternoon temperatures. Almost all water is obtained from food, and free-standing water is rarely used even when found. As its name implies, the cactus wren is a bird of arid regions, and is often found around yucca, mesquite or saguaro; it nests in cactus plants, sometimes in a hole in a saguaro, sometimes where its nest will be protected by the prickly cactus spines of a cholla or leaves of a yucca.

Rock Wren are medium wren with white-speckled gray upperparts, brown rump, white-over-black eye-lines, white throat and breast with fine gray streaks, and buff-yellow flanks and belly. The long tail is buff-and-black barred, and has a pale tip; undertail coverts are white with black bars. Rock Wren breed from southern British Columbia to southern Saskatchewan, southward to California and Texas, and south to Central America. The rock wren spends winters in southern U.S. and southward. This wren frequents arid or semiarid areas with exposed rock and can also be found in alpine habitats. The male Rock Wren is a truly remarkable singer and can have a large song repertoire of 100 or more song types, many of which seem to be learned from neighbors. The Rock Wren usually builds a walkway of small pebbles that leads to the nest cavity. The function of this pavement is unknown. Food is hunted on the ground, and includes insects and spiders.

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