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Wren in the hand

16 July 2014

I’m often asked by visitors where they can catch a glimpse of, or attempt to photograph, the St Kilda wren.   In theory, it shouldn’t be difficult to see the wren as there are several breeding pairs within the Head Dyke.  In reality, it can actually be pretty tough as the wrens tend to dash between the stone structures and disappear into crevices.   Yesterday, I heard some flapping in our office and found a wren trying to escape through a closed window.  Luckily it was easy to catch and while I had it in the hand I decided to take the opportunity for a couple of photos:  The St Kilda 3 - wren, Soays and mice (there are always mice in the Feather Store) (Photo Gina Prior)Wren, a ewe and her lamb (Gina Prior)

The St Kilda wren may seem like a small brown bird to some but it is a unique species endemic to the archipelago.  It has a distinctive appearance and plumage with a larger body, longer bill and paler plumage than other subspecies of wren in Britain. We’re not entirely sure how many breeding pairs occupy the islands because it is virtually impossible to survey some areas of suitable breeding habitat on the very steepest of cliff faces.  But, we do know that pairs within the Head Dyke number up to a dozen.


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