New draft range maps for Winter Wren

  • Maps updated with comments received as of 11 Aug 2010

In the 51st supplement of the AOU Checklist (July 2010), Winter Wren is split into Eastern and Western species. Basic identification of these two species is already covered in the Sibley Guide to Birds, but range maps need to be updated. Below are maps showing the range of each species. These are rough drafts. Please comment here or contact me directly if you have definite information to add to the maps.

Range of the newly created species (Eastern) Winter Wren. A record from Barrow, Alaska could be this species or Pacific Wren (more info needed). Probably occurs in southeast Yukon. Mapped range in Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico is presumptive and needs confirmation. Based on the map in the Sibley Guides, copyright David Sibley.
Range of the newly created species Pacific Wren. Record from Barrow, Alaska could be this species or (Eastern) Winter Wren (confirmation needed). This species should be watched for east of the mapped range (especially western Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, central Texas, but also farther east). Map based on the Sibley Guides, copyright David Sibley.

17 thoughts on “New draft range maps for Winter Wren”

  1. David, here is a link to eBird reported sightings of Winter Wren in Idaho from 2003-2010. It might help you modify the range in Idaho. About 1/3 of the sightings were between Nov-Mar, especially in southern Idaho. They seem to be regulars year-round in northern Idaho.

  2. David,

    There is photographic evidence of Winter Wren from Santa Barbara County, CA. A bird was found during the Santa Barbara CBC in January ’09 and was well documented, photographed and seen by several people. This has been discussed on the local listserve as well. This will be submitted to the CA records committee:


    Discussion (beginning Jan 4 – see month of Jan ’09 messages:

    Hope this helps,

    Jamie Chavez
    Santa Maria, CA

  3. Hi David,

    When the split was announced, there was mention on the Iowa list serve about a “western” Winter Wren in that State last year. The poster was hopeful for a new species in Iowa. The post should still be found on Perhaps another extralimital spot?

    Drew Smith

  4. Hi David,

    In British Columbia the Pacific Wren reaches the NE part of the province in the vicinity of Ft. Nelson. I have heard both Pacific and Winter (Eastern) in this area (both along the same stretch of road) on at least one occasion. Others have reported Pacific near Steamboat Mountain which is west of Ft. Nelson, and probably other areas in that region as well. I’m sure the situation will become clearer now that they are split, though that area doesn’t see too many birders.

    Nathan Hentze

  5. I don’t think that there are any documented records of Pacific Wren from Nebraska–though a review of the specimen material might well confirm the bit of gray your map shows in Sioux Co.

  6. Overlap zone in BC supposedly somewhat narrow, and also includes a bit south of Fort Nelson. But as others have noted, it awaits further research to be better delineated.

    You might consider deleting almost all the dots for (Eastern) Winter Wren from where they are very rare UNTIL the reports/records have been reviewed by local records committees and such. Clearly some of them will prove fine, but a number will not, and it is a bit premature to know which do and which do not have adequate documentation made AT THE TIME the sightings were made. Also, I seriously doubt that a bunch of past reports via eBird can now be used to separate in to either Winter or Pacific in areas where one or both are the rare species unless they happened to come along with good documentation WRITTEN AT THE TIME, which I suspect few of them do. And for what it’s worth, I had an Eastern Winter just east of Yuma AZ in Autumn 2009, but await any decision by the ABC. There are only a FEW reports for AZ of true Eastern Winter Wrens; most are of Pacific Wrens or, of course, undifferentiated as to now-species at the time. That will probably prove to be the situation in most western states.

  7. David,

    There is a small population of breeding Pacific Wrens around Bozeman, MT. Below are the latitude/longitude positions and names of the locations;

    West Fork of Hyalite Creek – 45.4378, -110.96165
    Cascade Creek – 45.38416, -111.24364
    South Cottonwood Creek – 45.50161, -111.04228

    Perhaps the breeding range in Montana should be extended into the southwestern portion of the state.

  8. Hi David,

    With regard to the Pacific Wren’s breeding range in Montana, they occur even farther east than Bozeman. We’ve had multiple sightings of singing birds in proper habitat by competent observers in the Crazy Mountains (Sweetgrass Co.) and the Big Snowy Mountains (Fergus Co.).

  9. A possible Winter Wren was recorded in Victoria, BC on April 24, 2013 by Ian Cruickshnk. The recording: Ian Cruickshank XC131426 matches the atypical call recording of Cole Wolf: XC71769 in tempo but Ian’s recording is of poor quality and the volume does not pick up the tonal qualities. The call is certainly not the typical double-noted ‘jip-jip’ of Winter that is reminiscent of Song Sparrow but it is not the typical ‘chat-chat’ of the Pacific that is higher pitched. I’m not sure, but I may have heard the atypical call Ian recorded from Pacific Wren locally on one occasion.

  10. The above message on the Winter Wren should be ignored as the recording has proven not to be a Winter and the recording removed from xeno-canto.

  11. Hi DavidI could swear I saw a winter wren on my deck amongst the morning glories a few mornings ago about 6am. It was very secretive among the vegetation. It had a very sweet continuous tinkling song. Not loud like a call. Just a song like if we were strolling down the street whistling. I have a Carolina & house wren around. It was smaller then they are & didn’t sound like them.

    This link shows the wren I saw.

    Unfortunately, I did not get a recording or picture of it.

    1. Hi Diane, Sorry for the late reply. It’s certainly possible for a Winter Wren to be there in late July. They nest in northern New Jersey and many species will wander a bit in late summer after nesting. — Good Birding, David

  12. Pingback: Pacific Wren | Flathead Audubon Society

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