Birding…Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren, the largest and reddish of the wrens, is a round, warm reddish-brown bird with a white throat, warm-buff below, a conspicuous wide white stripe above the eye, and it often carries its tail cocked. Leading with its longish curved bill, it resembles a little brown teapot. It is most common in brush near water and mixed hardwood forests that are thick with vines, shrubs, and tangles, but is happy in yards and gardens with plenty of shrubbery and outbuildings. This plump little Wren I photographed in a shrub just out front of our house.

The loud, ringing call of the Carolina Wren is one of the most common sounds in our local surroundings, where it is heard all year round. The call is usually a series of tri-syllabic notes (variable: chirpity, chirpity, chirpity, chirp Or tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea), but sometimes two-syllabled (for example wheedle, wheedle, wheedle) and this persistent song is often given as a duet between pairs.

Carolina Wrens weave a surprisingly complex and bulky nest, hauling volumes of bark strips, fine twigs, leaves, grasses, green moss, and rubbish into a hidden nook, thick intertwining of vines (such as a wreath), natural tree cavity, or cranny in an out building. They often make a “porch” of such material leading to the nest. The entire affair is domed, and the finely-woven inner cup holds four eggs (usually laid in early April.) The female incubates for 14 days, while the male feeds her. The young leave the nest from 12 to 19 days later.

Insects and spiders make up virtually all the Carolina Wren’s natural food diet, which they capture mostly while gleaning on or near the ground. They will also climb trees or hunt in cobwebby corners for prey. At times, they will visit feeders and are most fond of peanut butter suet mixtures and mealworms. They have also been known to enter houses through open doors and windows to seek food. I’ve had personal visits from some Wren friends that have built a nest in the aforementioned wreath hanging on our front door that decided to invite themselves in for supper when we opened the front door to let Percy out….and, leaving your garage door open is another open invitation… :O) So really, any time of year in our area be on the lookout for low flying objects in your kitchen….but not to worry, the Carolina Wren is a highly intelligent bird and will easily find its way back out…making for a charming neighbor.

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