Friday 14 December 2018

December wren

After a period of winter gloom weather-wise, this morning was still, cold and sunny. As I was going about my business, I heard a wren call. Not a continuous spring time sing-song, but a few short bursts anyway. I occasionally see a wren darting in their low level, straight line, flight into the base of a viburnum bush. Perhaps because of their unobtrusiveness, it’s surprising to know that they are the commonest breeding bird in Britain. 

Although they are tiny, not much bigger than a walnut, they are distinctive because of their short stubby tail which is often displayed in a cock sure way. 

Source: Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

There is plenty of bird life about taking advantage of the hanging nuts and fat balls. However, apart from the cawing of crows, the meow call of buzzards and the honking from a skein of migratory geese, I’ve not heard much by way of bird calls just recently, perhaps not unexpected at this time of the year. But the wren has a very loud voice for a bird so small, and with the viburnum just outside the back door it was not hard to miss. A cheery contribution to the day. It needn’t take much.

Speaking of which, another poem by John Clare, that astute observer of nineteenth century rural England and the countryside.

The Wren
Why is the cuckoo’s melody preferred
And nightingale’s rich song so fondly praised
In poet’s rhymes? Is there no other bird
Of nature’s minstrelsy that oft hath raised
One’s heart to extacy and mirth as well?
I judge not how another’s taste is caught:
With mine, there’s other birds that bear the bell
Whose song hath crowds of happy memories brought.
Such the wood-robin singing in the dell
And little wren that many a time hath sought
Shelter from showers in huts where I did dwell
In early spring the tennant of the plain
Tenting my sheep and still they come to tell
The happy stories of the past again.


  1. Oh what a lovely poem. I miss the wrens of my childhood, on the back of the farthings! They always reminded me of the promise in Luke chapter 12

  2. I’m pleased you liked the poem Angela. Yes, not one of them will be forgotten.

  3. Good of you to feature the "Jenny" Wren. Such a gentle and petite bird. John Clare was a wonderful and sensitive poet.

  4. Yes he was a great poet and has a fascinating personal history. Might write about him some time.