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The Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren                                                                                               ©

The Carolina Wren is one of my favorite LBJ's or "Little Brown Jobs" a title given to those little brown birds that many people have trouble identifying. They are loud and boisterous and actually fairly easy to identify.

Both males and females look the same. They are about 5 3/4" in length with a rusty brown back, tan belly and have a big white stripe over their eyes. Their bills are long and slightly downcurved and they often cock their tail up in the air as other wrens do.

They have been expanding their range from south to north and they are becoming more common all the time in Connecticut. It wasn't long ago that it was uncommon to see one here. They tend to move into areas after a mild winter, but unfortunately many die when a long cold spell hits as has happened in CT but they do appear to be hanging on okay and over time may adapt to the cold. They are very fond of the "roosting pockets" that we carry. These are cute little shelters made out of grasses and other materials meant to help shelter birds from the cold in the winter. There are also wooden roost boxes that are used by many birds including bluebirds to keep warm on cold winter nights. The entry hole is at the bottom of the front door and there is no other ventilation in order to keep the inside as warm as possible. There are also perches inside so many birds can use it at one time.

Carolina Wrens feed mostly on insects but also include berries in their diet (especially in winter) and will often feed on suet and peanuts at feeders. For breeding they build a cup shaped nest in crevices (occasionally in bird houses), in hanging plants, in the upturned roots of trees and also in brush piles. In the north they usually have 2 broods, in the south 3. Both male and female take care of the young. The pair remain together on territory year round and are often very aggressive at defending it. On the second nesting the male takes over the responsibility of the first clutch and the female begins incubating the second.

I nearly always hear these birds before I see them and quite often I ONLY hear them - they are good skulkers! They have many different songs but they tend to sing one for quite a while before switiching to a different one. One of the most common sounds like "tea-kettle, tea-kettel, tea-kettle".



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