Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Canyon Wren at Petroglyph Point, Lava Beds National Monument

I recently returned from a trip to Northern California, the primary purpose of which was studying volcanoes.  All the fascinating geology of the Lava Beds area will make it into a post in the near future, but first, I wanted to share a few of the photos I took of this little guy, a Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus), at Petroglyph Point.
Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus)
Canyon Wrens are small Passerines, perching songbirds in the order Passeriformes.  Their barred tail sticks out in characteristic wren style, and their white throat is a prominent field mark.  They have a long, thin bill, designed for foraging for insects.  Canyon Wrens inhabit the dry mountains and canyon lands of western North America.  In California, they are found in a low-elevation ring around the Central Valley in rocky habitats, as well as east of the Sierra, in the Transverse and Peninsular Ranges of Southern California, and on the Modoc Plateau.  As suggested by their name, Canyon Wrens prefer rocky habitats, such as canyons, boulder piles and cliffs.
Canyon Wrens eat insects and spiders they find in rocky crevices, and are not known to drink water; they likely get all the water they need from their prey.  They nest in crevices, caverns, and protected rock faces, constructing small cup-shaped nests of twigs lined with lichens, feathers, spider webs, and other soft material.
Like other wrens in the family Troglodytidae, Canyon Wrens sing a beautiful cascading song.  Unfortunately, this little wren was not in the mood for singing.

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