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 new territories for nesting.
Currently, its breeding range is as far north as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and southern New England.
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 Carolina Wrens is their ability to mimic the voices of other birds which they do occasionally.
Its call 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. You can listen to its call using the player below.
Press the button to hear what two of the Carolina Wrens Call sound like.
First, the common tweedle, tweedle, tweedle, call and then the rasping call is used for intruders.
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 the back.
The white line eyebrow is helpful in correct identification. This white line is an easy way to distinguish it from the House Wren.
Carolina Wrens may form pairs at any time during the year but primarily in the Fall.
These pairs tend to stay together ( mate for life ) as long as both are alive.
These pairs will be seen traveling together throughout their feeding and nesting territory.
Carolina Wrens make a domed, cup-shaped nest made of twigs, grass, and bark. The inside is lined with fine materials.
The distinctive side entrance seen in the picture below is very helpful in identifying the nest from other bird's nests.
What a Carolina Wren Nest Looks Like
Located anywhere from 1 - 10 feet above the ground the nests can be found in almost anything.
You'll find the nests in tree cavities, propane tank lids, BBQs, man-made birdhouses, hanging baskets, and even your door wreaths.
Both males and females 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 lasts 12 - 14 days and the male will feed the female in the nest. Sometimes the male will call and the female will go to the male for food.
Carolina Wren Range Map
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 constructed 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 take flight when you approach the nest.
This is about protecting the eggs more than being unafraid of your presence. Too much human activity may cause nest abandonment.
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 and looking for insects to eat.
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.
Carolina Wrens visit my feeders here in Kansas all winter long. In winter these Wrens will eat sunflower heart chips.
A Heated Birdbath can help provide drinking and bathing water in both summer and winter.
From Hatching To Flight. A special friend captured it all in text and pictures.