Who would’ve thought a House Wren could have such a big mouth? Certainly not me. Surely such a tiny bird couldn’t eke out more than a squeak or two, maybe a quiet warble. I was mistaken…hugely.
I kept hearing these loud bird calls in the woods, and would get excited. “That’s gotta be a huge bird,” I’d say to myself. And I’d start looking for the culprit. All I’d ever see was one tiny bird or another flying through the trees. I couldn’t understand it. How could a such a big bird hide so well?
Then, a few months ago, I was watering the neighbor’s plants for him while he was on vacation. His house is located farther up the driveway from ours, closer to the woods. A tiny backyard juts into the edge of a thick forest. I had walked around the back of the little greenhouse to get the hose when I heard it—a loud, piercing call that sounded like it had erupted from the throat of a velociraptor! Ok…maybe I’m exaggerating a bit…but it was seriously loud. I thought for sure it was a giant bird. It sounded really close, so I dropped the hose and started toward the thicket. The call came again, so loud it hurt my ears. I was getting really close, but no huge bird could be seen. I was getting a bit flustered. Was this bird invisible? Was I huge-bird-blind? What was the deal here?
Then I saw it. The tiniest, cutest, fluffiest House Wren I’d ever seen. His throat swelled with the call. I couldn’t believe it. I just stood there with my mouth open, staring at the little critter in amazement. I could’ve seen a cardinal or a Blue Jay making a racket like that, but…a House Wren?!? Hardly!
A few mornings later, Elizabeth burst in the door yelling for me to come ID a bird for her.
I followed her outside. “Where is it?”
“Oh, I can’t see it, I just heard it. There…!”
We listened. I heard it all right. A loud, clear, sharp warble that sounded like it was right under our noses. I looked around and couldn’t see anything. I thought for sure it was a big bird hiding in our garden bushes or something.
Then I saw it. A tiny brown-and-cream fuzzball, no bigger than a golf ball, sitting about 20 feet (6 m) away on a wire trellis. I would have never seen him if I hadn’t been looking. But sure enough, his throat swelled to magnificent proportions in rhythm with the call that pierced the air. I shook my head. “I don’t believe it,” I told Elizabeth. “How something so tiny could be so loud is beyond me.” I went back inside.
Two weeks later, Lydia came running inside with the same request. She said, “I can’t find it, but I hear it. It’s really loud and clear, and it’s in the quince bush, but I just can’t see it!”
I was cooking lunch, and didn’t even turn away from the stove. I just laughed and said, “It’s probably a House Wren.”
We can take a lesson from these tiny birds with big voices. Even when we feel small and insignificant, let’s remember that we are incredibly special to God, who made us with His own hands. Let’s praise Him with our clearest voices…for we, just as the wrens, were made to worship Him in song.