Habitat Created for Rock Wrens

Bird habitat preserved in Vernon
P.L. McAllister

Special to The Morning Star, 3 November 2016

At the beginning of the trail to Vernon’s Middleton Mountain steps, you might notice a tall pile of large rocks on the north side.

The developer, Aldebaran Homes, has used heavy equipment to create a pile of large rocks as a habitat for an uncommon bird, the rock wren.

In the spring, naturalists monitoring bluebird boxes were alerted to the loud ringing sound of a rock wren perched on a rooftop in this area.

There were in fact two rock wrens and the pair sang from rooftops, excavators and tall rocks throughout the season.

Because of the proliferation of houses and condos marching up and around all sides of the park would endanger any nesting of this uncommon bird, an attempt has been made to preserve some disappearing habitat.

The North Okanagan Naturalist Club, Keith Pinkoski, Regional District of North Okanagan parks manager, and John Jacobsen, Aldebaran Homes development manager, collaborated on this project.

Of the five different species of wrens in the Vernon area, the rock wren and canyon wren are uncommon to rare.

These two wrens are expanding their range north and are specialised for only certain kinds of rocky habitats.

The rock pile has been placed by the Middleton steps in the hopes that the rock wrens will return from their migration south in spring 2017 and consider this the right habitat for breeding and nesting.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club would especially like to thank Aldebaran Homes for their interest in saving wildlife.

P.J. McAllister is with the North Okanagan Naturalists Club.