Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unexpected Meadow Denizen

Sedge Wren at Attwater Prairie-chicken NWR near Houston, Texas (Image by JoAnn Raine, one of our premier birders, who herself migrated to Texas)
One of our expert birders emailed me this morning to inform me that he had spotted a male Sedge Wren - and possibly a female as well - in the tall, native grasslands we have created in the natural area preserve.  He said they could possibly be a breeding pair since the species is known to breed into September.  From my perspective, I suppose they could just as easily be early migrants, as were the Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) that showed up a month early this year.

According to the Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania, the Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) is "among the least familiar of all of Pennsylvania's songbirds...rare and local in its distribution."  The book goes on to say that "At the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey, the Pennsylvania Game Commission  has listed the species as threatened."

Even if the pair that our birder spotted this morning isn't breeding in our grasslands, it's great to know that the birds are using the habitat we've created as a safe haven during migration.


Carolyn H said...

Scott: Oh, that's very cool! I don't know that I've seen sedge wren in PA. Very good find!

Scott said...

Carolyn: According to the Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas, Sedge Wrens tend to nest in small colonies (though they can also nest as single pairs), and a few colonies have been observed in your vicinity (Cumberland and Adams counties).