golden-crested wren

golden-crested wren defined in 1930 year

golden-crested wren - Golden-crested Wren;
golden-crested wren - Upper parts olive tinged with yellow; cheeks ash-colour; wing greyish brown, with two transverse white bands; crest bright yellow in front, orange behind, bounded by two black lines under parts yellowish grey. Female: colours not so bright; crest lemon-colour. Length, three and a half inches.

The golden-crested wren has the distinction of being the smallest British bird; it is also one of the most widely distributed, being found throughout the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it is a resident throughout the year, is nowhere scarce, and m many places is very abundant. Yet it is well known only to those who are close observers of bird life. The goldcrest is not a familiar figure, owing to its smallness and restlessness, which exceed that of all the other members of this restless family of birds, and make it difficult for the observer to see it well. Again, it is nearly always concealed from sight by the foliage, and in winter it keeps mostly among the evergreens, and at all times haunts by preference pine, fir, and yew trees. In the pale light of a winter day, more especially in cloudy weather, it is hard to see the greenish, restless little creature in his deep green bush or tree. Standing under, or close to, a wide- spreading old yew, half a dozen goldcrests flitting incessantly about among the foliage in the gloomy interior of the tree look less like what they are than the small flitting shadows of birds.

In March, and even as early as the latter part of February, the male is frequently heard uttering his song; but he is not of the songsters that perch to sing, and pour out their music deliberately and with all their might. The goldcrest's song comes in as a sort of trivial distraction or relief - a slight interlude between the more important acts of passing from one twig or spray to another, and snatching up some infinitesimal insect so quickly and deftly that to see the action one must watch the bird very closely indeed. And the music, of which the musician makes so little, is of very little account to the listener. It is the smallest of small songs - two notes, almost identical in tone, repeated rapidly, without variation, two or three times, ending with a slight quaver, scarcely audible, on the last note. The sound is sharp and fine, as of young mice squealing, but not quite so sharp, and more musical; it is a sound that does not travel: to hear it well one must stand not farther than a dozen or fifteen yards from the singer.

Yarrell has the following passage on the song of the goldcrest: ' Pennant says he has observed this bird suspended in the air for a considerable time over a bush in flower, while it sang very melodiously; but this peculiarity does not appear to have been noticed by other naturalists, I have observed the male, in the love season, hovering just above the bush, in the topmost foliage of which its mate was perched, and partially hidden from view. It is when engaged in this pretty, aerial performance, or love-dance, that the golden-crested wren is at his best. The restless, minute, sober- coloured creature, so difficult to see properly at other times, then becomes a conspicuous and exceedingly beautiful object; it hovers on rapidly-vibrating wings, the body in almost a vertical position, but the head bent sharply down, the eyes being fixed on the bird beneath, while the wide-open crest shines in the sun like a crown or shield of fiery yellow. When thus hovering it does not sing, but emits a series of sharp, excited, chirping sounds.

The goldcrest builds a pendent nest, made fast to the small twigs under a branch of yew or fir, and uses a variety of materials - fine dry grass, leaves, moss, and webs - closely woven together, lining the cavity with feathers. It is a very ingenious and pretty structure. The eggs laid are from six to ten, of a pale yellowish white, spotted and blotched, chiefly at the large end, with reddish brown.

In the autumn, in the months of October and November, a great migratory movement takes place among the goldcrests in the north of Europe; and in some seasons incredible numbers of these small travellers arrive, often in an exhausted condition, in Northumberland and on the east coast of Scotland. After resting close to the sea for a day or two, they resume their journey, and distribute themselves over the country.

The firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), which closely resembles the species just described, is an accidental visitor from the continent of Europe.

near golden-crested wren in Knolik

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