Bird Pictures - Carolina Wren Babies and Nests
Carolina Wrens Eat Insects
Carolina Wrens - the Farmer's Friend
Carolina Wrens will build a nest in just about any cavity, natural or man made. They are perky little cinnamon brown birds with a loud voice who eat thousands of insects each year. They can be found in the north, but do better where winters are not so cold.
Pairs mate for life and will usually remain together all year long. They can raise as many as 4 broods a year here in Louisiana. When they are raising young, more insects are devoured.
Unlike their cousin, the House Wren, they get along well with other cavity nesting birds like Bluebirds, Prothonotary Warblers and others.
We've taken many pictures of the adult wrens as well as their nests and babies. This page is about their nesting habits, their young and their value to the gardener or anyone who raises their own food.
Carolina Wrens will Nest Almost Anywhere
Quirky Nesting Sites of Carolina Wrens
Building Nests in Unusual Places
Next to Prothonotary Warblers, Carolina Wrens should get the prize for creative choices in nesting sites. They can make any cavity work and have been known to nest in everything from motorcycle and bicycle helmets to the vents of boats and everywhere in between.
Of course, they will nest in normal places like birdhouses and tree cavities, but they seem to prefer places around buildings, homes and other man made structures.
Here's a quick list of some of the od places that we know of.
- Cinder Blocks
- Plastic bowls
- Hanging Baskets
- Bicycle Helmet
- Motorcycle Helmet
- Christmas Wreath
- Potting Bench Shelf
- Open Eaves of a House
- Spare Tire on the Back of the Van
- Roll of Carpet in the Out Building
- Pocket of Clothes Hanging on the Line
- Flower Pots
- Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter
- Large Tin Cans in a Garage
- Vents on a Boat
I'm sure there are many more. If you know of an unusual nesting site, please tell us about it in the comments section and I'll add it to the list.
Recommended Nest Boxes
Feed Me, Feed Me!
Nest with Abandoned Eggs
Nest in a Hanging Basket
Eggs, Babies and Fledglings
The male wren builds many "dummy" nests in different places in the pair's territory. The female inspects each and chooses one and finishes it.
She lays 4-7 brown speckled eggs in the dome shaped nest.
She incubates the eggs for 12 to 16 days.
When the chicks hatch, they have no feathers, only a little fuzz and are blind and helpless.
They grow quickly because both parents take care of the young, making hundreds of trips back and forth to the nest, bringing tasty insects.
When the babies are 12 to 14 days old, they leave the nest. The parents still feed them, but within 2 weeks, the pair has normally started building another nest.
Birding Guides and Software
Both Parents feed the Young
Carolina Wrens Eat Suet
Unlike the Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wrens don't have bright, striking coloration. Both male and female are a pretty cinnamon brown with a buffy underside. What they lack in looks, they make up for, in insect eating ability. They eat primarily members of the Hymenoptera family which includes sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. I've also seen them eat crickets and grasshoppers.
They enjoy suet, all year round, but especially in the winter and early spring. Down here, where it is hot and humid, we make a "no drip" suet from equal parts of wet ingredients and dry.
Here's Our "No Drip" Suet recipe:
- 2 cups animal lard
- 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup oatmeal,
- 1 cup cornmeal,
- 1/2 cup flour,
- 1/2 wheat germ or shelled sunflower seeds
Don't substitute vegetable shortening, they need the real, high cholesterol, old-fashioned lard made from animal fat.
Mix it all together and press into a pan lined with wax paper. Put it in the refrigerator or freezer to harden some. Cut into blocks to fit your feeder. The rest can be stored wrapped in the wax paper in a zip lock bag in the freezer.
Both the male and the female feed the young. Most male wrens are excellent fathers. I have observed a male singing in the Mimosa tree after bringing food to the nest. When insects are in short supply, the parents often feed the young suet.
Male Carolina Wren Singing
Songs and Calls
You usually know when the Carolina Wrens are in the area. The males love to sing and the females are constantly vocalizing. For their size, Carolina Wrens can sing exceptionally loudly. If you weren't watching this small brown bird sing, you wouldn't believe that the blasting song could have come from him.
They are also one of the first birds to send up the alarm when a predator is in the area. Then they will keep fussing even after all the other birds have gathered around.
Carolina Wren Singing Video
Links to More About Nesting Birds
- Carolina Wren's Nest
The little brown Carolina Wren birds with their perky tails and loud voices build a nest somewhere around our house each year. We photographed their nest in
- The Cardinal's Nest
Every bird watcher and most children recognize the male Northern Cardinal, a Christmas symbol, but many people know nothing about its nesting and courtship