Winter Wrens — Nature’s Magical Songsters

Winter Wren Recording:

Song of a Winter Wren recorded at dawn, Ferd’s Bog, Adirondack State Park, NY. © Wil Hershberger.

Winter Wrens occur across the entire northern hemisphere. In the spring and early summer there are Winter Wrens singing somewhere at any given moment of every single day. Don Kroodsma, in his book, “The Singing Life of Birds,” envisioned the dawn chorus of Winter Wrens sweeping around the globe along with the rising of the sun. What a wonderful image to embrace.

Winter Wren by Lang ElliottThe Winter Wrens of northeastern North America are perhaps, what we would regard as, the most talented singers of the bunch. Their spirited songs are rich and melodic and very pleasing to the human ear. As the sun rises, these tiny birds mount to the top of a tall tree, usually a spruce, and then release more sound than anyone would imagine could be contained in such a sprite. In the cool still air of the morning their songs carry many hundreds of yards, snaking up and down stream courses and up the hillsides. The songs of wrens from western North America are more complex and longer. However, their songs are squeakier and harsher to our ears, not nearly as musical as the eastern wrens.

One of the idyllic places to experience this rush of song is Ferd’s Bog, a small and quiet haunt in the Adirondack Mountains near Eagle Bay, New York. As the name implies, this is a bog‚ a quaking sphagnum bog to be precise. Winter Wrens occur in the spruce forest surrounding the bog and their lilting melodies echo throughout the landscape. The entire experience is thrilling, enchanting, and will haunt you for life.

The Winter Wren featured in the above recording was 60 feet off the ground in a tall Black Spruce. Using a large parabolic reflector and a sensitive microphone, I was able to isolate his song from the forests’ morning symphony.


  1. What a great story of the winter wren. This bird is very common in Holland, and I see and hear them all the time in my backagarden.



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