Archive for Wrens

House Wren chicks 8/15/18

Believe it or not there are 7 House Wren chicks packed into this nest I found under the eave of an entryway. They’ll be fledging shortly, it’s hard to imagine any of them moving about without pushing one of its sibs out of the nest. House wrens build twiggy nests in a wide variety of cavities or other protected places such as garages, flower pots, nest boxes, and brush piles. They are quite common little brown songbirds with a loud burbly song frequently repeated.

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Carolina Wren 1/26/18

This little brown job (aka “lbj” in birdspeak) is a relative newcomer to New England winters, having only been a fairly common resident in southern Maine for about 30 years. Field guides will tell you the primary reason for its northward expansion is global warming, and while no doubt that’s a factor, I believe their march northwards is better attributed to the popularity among birdlovers of putting out seeds and suet and meal worms during the winter months. They don’t migrate but are sensitive to severe winters, and frequently many perish in hard years, but they can produce several large broods in one season so that decimated populations recover quickly and soon there are new birds to expand the range even farther. To help them survive winter months, they often roost close to houses which radiate heat at night, creating a microclimate change of a just few degrees, which can mean life or death to them. Consider keeping some old pots, watering cans, or 5-gallon pails filled with dryer lint, dried straw, grasses, or leaves up against your foundation under a deck or stairs for them to sneak into on those nights when the polar vortex is upon us.

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House Wren pair 7/9/16

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In New England House Wrens are migratory, but south of Mexico and all the way to Tierra del Fuego they are year-round birds. They come in many subspecies varying in both color and song, with some of the Caribbean subspecies being endangered or even extinct. But together, House Wrens are the most widely distributed bird in both Americas, missing only from the far north. This pair built a nest and raised a brood in a clay pot underneath my deck. I’d characterize their song as a loud and insistent burble, repeated several times a minute.

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Carolina Wren 4/8/14

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Having been such a cold winter I’d been worrying about my neighborhood Carolina Wrens making it through, as these birds don’t migrate and we’re on the northern fringe of their range. But they no doubt found warm enough roosts and enough protein to get by, as they’re energetically singing in the spring with their loud Tea kettle, Tea kettle! Tea kettle! calls.

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Carolina Wren 1/4/13

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Carolina Wrens have a difficult time when temps become especially frigid like they have been lately. Many perish. They do come close to houses in winter, sleeping in dense evergreen ornamentals, inside watering cans, 5-gallon pails, under stairs, pocket places they can get out of the wind and where the little heat they put out themselves isn’t just blown away, a cosy shelter to ride out the worst. They are primarily insectivorous, and bugs are hard to find in winter, so not having to travel far to a neighborhood store of suet and/or dried mealy worms is a definite plus. Some folks even make little sleeping nests around their yards and under their decks with clay pots and recycled dryer lint or sawdust, which chickadees and other little birds will also use when there’s a polar vortex upon them.

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Carolina Wren 3/13/13

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Here’s the source of that loud Tea kettle, Tea kettle, Tea kettle warbling you might be hearing in your garden or neighborhood around this time of year. Carolina Wrens don’t migrate but have been pushing their way north for some decades so that they are fairly common in this part of New England now, but there was no sign of them in these parts back when I was growing up. In winter they frequently visit suet feeders but are still susceptible to cold snaps, and one way you can help them make it is to use nest boxes or old flowerpots filled with dried grass to shelter from frigid winds at night.

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Carolina Wren 1/13/12

Carolina Wrens, like other wren species, are insectivores and not particularly well-adapted to New England winters, especially since they don’t migrate. But most winters they do manage to persevere here in southernmost Maine, finding protected nests to roost in during the frigid nights and storms, and switching their diet to seeds and berries. Occasionally I’ll even see one at the suet feeder. In severe winters their populations crash only to recover slowly over the next couple of seasons. To help them through the winter you can leave some sort of receptacle in a protected place like under a deck or porch with some fine grasses they can burrow into to keep warm. If you hear one loudly singing “tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle” that’s a male, otherwise the sexes look alike.

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