Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the July 24, 2005 Newsletter issued from the Sierra Nevada foothills somewhat east of Placerville, California, USA

I awoke and a little brown wren with a longish, finely cross-barred tail and a brown eyebrow stood on the ground not three feet away staring sideways at me. He was a Rock Wren –- not the Canyon Wren I told you about a while ago, or a House Wren or any other of those wrens that often make a fuss around people's houses. The way Canyon Wrens are specialists for canyons, Rock Wrens are exquisitely adapted for rocky areas like Slate Mountain's rubble-field ridge. You can see a Rock Wren and read about it at http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/species.asp?id=337.

Though I've never seen anyone else on Slate Mountain I thought that maybe this bird was begging for food the way some creatures do around campgrounds. Why else would he be orbiting around me, now on the ground, now on a manzanita branch, staying just three feet away? Usually I don't feed wildlife but I had to see if this bird would eat some oatmeal tossed his way.

He wouldn't. He must have been coming so near merely to satisfy his curiosity. Eventually he grew bored with me, flew away and began energetically gleaning spiders and insects from the bushes, despite the 104°.