[CT Birds] Winter Wrens

Dennis Varza dennisvz at optonline.net
Sat Jul 3 23:53:30 EDT 2010

Just to add more wren trivia.

the title winter king comes from an old folk tale that goes roughly  
as follows:

One day the birds got together to decide who would be King. They  
decided that the bird that flew the highest would be King. So, all  
the birds take off and eventually each drops out at different  
elevation. At last the the eagle is alone in the sky and just as he  
is about to declare himself king, the wren pops out of the eagle's  
back where he was hiding and flies higher than the eagle and becomes  

For the life of me, I don't know were I heard this but it stuck.

Dennis Varza

On Jul 3, 2010, at 2:14 PM, james.bair at snet.net wrote:

> Dear Steve:
> You wrote:
> I had a Winter Wren just a few steps to the west of Nettleton's  
> Ravine in the spicebush/skunk cabage/hemlocks.? There was another  
> Troglodytes troglodytes (I love that Old World Name - 'Reminds me  
> of the HG Wells classic, The Time Machine) further down the ravine  
> in the hemlocks to the west.?
> Yeah, Troglodytes troglodytes is normally the only wren species  
> found in Europe. In England it is just called Wren.  (The Dutch  
> name Winterkoning means "winter king." I guess in North America we  
> put the Dutch and English together. In some European languages  
> "king" birds are wrens.) Winter Wrens usually nest in some kind of  
> natural cavity, not so much a hole or tree cavity like the House  
> Wren, a mass of roots, a crevice, or the like. Their nest is  
> constructed with a entance hole on the side, so it does look like a  
> little cave. "Troglodyte" has come to mean "cave dweller,"  
> literally "hole enterer." The Morlocks in Wells' "The Time Machine"  
> were the troglodytes, the underground "cave dwellers" of the  
> future. Also the Troggs, the band that recorded the 60's hit "Wild  
> Thing," got their name from shortening troglodyte. I guess wild  
> things would live in caves--the music and lyrics of the song were  
> both pretty primitive.
> Jim Bair
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