Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)


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Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes, near Bridge of Orchy, Scotland.
Known in Europe as “the” wren, and in North America as the Winter Wren.

Image: Dave Rintoul, Summer 2008 [larger view].


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    October 5, 2008

    Does anyone know why it got its scientific name? I can’t see any relationship to cave living.

    Ah, OK, I found the answer myself:

    ^ Etymology: Ancient Greek τρωγλοδύτες “cave-dwellers” (compare troglodyte), from trogle (τρώγλη) “hole” + dyein (δυειν) “to enter”. In reference to the tendency of these wrens to enter small crevices as they search for food.

  2. #2 Diane in Ohio
    October 5, 2008

    UPDATE: A seconded squatter has now been also sleeping in last springs Cardinal nest! I’m wondering if these house wrens might have been nestlings together – hmmmmmm…Amazing Mother Nature….:o)

  3. #3 Rick Wright
    October 5, 2008

    Sweet photo, Dave!
    It likely won’t be long before we have lots of species split out from this holarctic taxon; can’t wait!

  4. #4 Ian
    October 6, 2008

    It’s interesting you post this picture right after your trip to England. The wren was featured on a now obsolete coin called a farthing, which is one quarter of one (old) English penny. From the difference in size of the two coins comes the name for the bicycle which has a giant front wheel and a tiny rear wheel, the penny-farthing. The old penny was very large and the farthing was very small (tiny bird, tiny coin).

    That’s the only serious comment I’m going to make today and you get it, GS. Don’t you feel honored?!

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