South Carolina’s state bird likes to make itself known. The very recognizable song, along with the harsh scolding cry, are usually both performed at top volume by the male Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), who is never shy about letting you know its in the neighborhood.
Once you look around to find it, it’s also pretty easy to recognize by sight. Small and round like most wrens, it has a distinctive banded face and beautiful patterning to its feathers, with no difference between males and females. (Although it looks similar to Berwick’s Wren, Berwick’s has a longer tail and is now found almost exclusively in the western U.S.)
Where will you find it? Regionally, you can expect to see it anywhere in the eastern U.S., and since it doesn’t migrate, look for it year-round. Though it tolerates snow and freezing temperatures, it is a cold-sensitive bird, and local populations can experience die-offs following particularly harsh winters. Fortunately it has a high breeding rate that allows the populations to recover quickly, and it is a species that has a stable and in fact increasing population and range.
Carolina Wrens mate for life, and build bulky domed nests with side entrances. They’re often found in potted plants or heavy brushy overgrowth, and occasionally in less convenient places like mailboxes. They lay 4 – 6 eggs up to 3 times a year (hence the ability to quickly repopulate an area) and if a pair particularly likes a nest, they use it more than once.
Attracting these birds to your own yard isn’t as easy as just putting out some sunflower seeds. These birds are mainly insect eaters, using berries occasionally to supplement their diet. Try offering a suet feeder, or even peanut butter. You’re more likely to see them poking around in trees and gardens, looking for spiders and other insects.
Do you love Carolina Wrens? How do you attract them to your yard? Tell us about it in the comments!