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'Christopher' Wren Inspects Work On Hirta Kirk

4 August 2005

Amongst the many tasks in preparation for the anniversary and the end of season. The final work party of 2005 have been painting the wood work of the church. This task is being scrutinised by a family of St Kilda wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes hirtensis) nesting nearby. The St Kilda Wren is a unique sub species of wren found only on St Kilda evolved over centuries of isolation on the archepelago.

Wrens eye view of proceedings.


After the disappointment of the productivity monitoring on Dun it has been good to see that land birds appear to have fared somewhat better. The wrens have chosen to nest in the elongated cleit behind the Kirk known as the 'Coffin Cleit'. Where St Kildans would have stored longer lengths of timber, including those for use in coffin construction. The pair have successfully raised two young, one of whom was bold enough to come into the Kirk and perch on a pew whilst casting a curious eye over proceedings.

Kilda Wren

An Adult St Kilda Wren.

Amongst the other parents to be seen frantically trying to keep up the hungry demands of a young family on Main Street St Kilda are a pair of Pied Wagtails (Motecilla alba yarelli). The species has not nested on St Kilda since 1993, although it is recorded as a passage migrant each year.

Both these birds along with the many Northern Wheatear and Rock Pipits also nesting on the island rely on insects found in and around cleits and along the shoreline. The wren in particular thrives not only on the main street, but its powerful song is to be heard even on the seabird colonies of Boreray and the Stacs.


Neil St Kilda Ranger

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