Carolina wren can be noisy neighbor

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The eastern half of the U.S. is home to the Carolina wren. This small bird is a true native. It does not migrate south for winter. It is territorial and will remain its whole life within a couple miles of where it was raised.

Carolina wrens eat a large variety of insects and are beneficial for gardeners. A birdhouse gourd hanging from a hook under the eve of the roof or from the ceiling of your porch will attract a pair of Carolina wrens. Cut a 1 3/4-inch hole in the gourd about one-third of the way down from its top.

During very cold weather the Carolina wren will find a hole in a tree or possibly the cavities in a pile of firewood to sneak into. An open shed or garage may also serve as a retreat for safety from the cold. It is not uncommon for a Carolina wren to be inadvertently shut inside a garage where it has built a nest or gone into seeking warm shelter.

This wren is easily confused with the house wren, which is similar but is darker brown in color without the showy whitish colored breast and has a shorter beak than the Carolina wren. The Carolina wren can be noisy with a loud song. You may hear it just outside your door on warm winter days and on bright spring mornings singing loudly.

During winter when there a few insects to be found this bird may be drawn to a bird feeder supplied with crushed peanuts or smashed sunflower seeds.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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