Carolina Wren Habits

Carolina Wrens, the state bird of SC, are southern birds that do not migrate in the traditional sense. Yet, some younger birds travel northward for unknown reasons and set up residence.

Currently its breeding range is a far north as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and southern New England.

Carolina Wren On Branch

As long as winters are mild, these young birds will build resident populations. If winter becomes severe resulting in food shortages, these birds will perish by not moving south.

This northward cycle would then be repeated over time.

A not so common fact about these birds is their ability to mimic the voices of other birds which they do occasionally.

Its own voice of tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle, Chirrrrrr is well known by friends of this bird. Often you'll hear this bird way before you see it.

Carolina Wren Call


Carolina Wrens measure 5 1/2 to 6 inches in length with warm brown upperparts and buff-tinged underparts.

Birdwatchers can look for a bold white eyebrow, a white chin and no streaking on back.

The white line eyebrow is helpful in correct identification. This white line is an easy way to distinquish it from the House Wren.

Mating Habits

Carolina Wrens may form pairs at anytime during the year but primarily in Fall. These pairs tend to stay together as long as both are alive.

These pairs will be seen travelling together throughout their territory.

Nesting Habits

A domed, cup-shaped nest made of twigs, grass, bark, and lined with fine materials. The distinctive side entrance is very helpful in identifying the nest from other bird nest.

Located anywhere from 1 - 10 feet above ground in almost anything including a tree cavity, propane tank lids, bbq's, man-made bird houses, hanging baskets, and other ornamental types of fixtures. Door wreaths are also common nesting sites.

Both male and female participate in nest building.

The female lays 4 - 8 eggs that are creamy or pink-white with brown marks. Incubation is done by the female and begins after the last egg is laid.

Incubation last 12 - 14 days and the male will feed the female on the nest. Sometimes the male will call and the female will go to the male for food.

The young will leave the nest in 12 -14 days after hatching.

When the young are due to fledge the adults will make several trips to the nest with no food. This encourages the young to leave the nest.

2 or 3 broods are raised each season. The breeding season runs from April to July. Southern birds may begin nesting in March.

While a new nest is constucted for each brood, the nest may be located in the same area as a previous nest.

Often the female will stay on the nest rather than taking flight when you approach the nest. This is about protecting the eggs more than unafraid of your presence.

Feeding Habits - What they Eat

Carolina Wren on suet feeder

Carolina Wrens eat insects and small animals such as tree frogs. Also included in their diet are some types of fruits and seeds.

They are most commonly seen foraging on the ground tossing leaf litter aside looking for insects.

You can also find them going along downed limbs or climbing the trunks of trees and inserting their bill in the bark in search of food.

Winter Feeding

These birds visit my feeders here in Kansas all winter long. They will eat sunflower heart chips, but I've also seen them eating safflower seed and especially suet.

A Heated Birdbath can help provide the drinking and bathing water in both summer and winter.

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Selecting Seeds Out of Shell

From Hatching To Flight. A friend captured it all in text and pictures.

Watch Videos of Carolina Wrens

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