Carolina Wren's Nest
Photo Journal: Carolina Wren Bird, Nature's Pest Control
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 hanging basket by the porch and on the window ledge. These friendly Wrens will build their nest almost anywhere.
Carolina Wrens are also an excellent pest control crew in the garden. When they have babies, hundreds of insects are consumed each day.
On this page, you'll find information about Carolina Wrens and many photographs of their nests and babies. We hope you enjoy this view into the life of this interesting and beneficial little bird.
Wren photo and all others on this page are copyright Y.L. Bordelon All Rights Reserved, unless otherwise noted.
Carolina Wren Facts and Fun
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), like the name implies, is a southern bird, although its range extends into the northeastern United States. This is the most common wren in South Louisiana.
Unlike its northern cousin, the house wren (which we rarely or never see), it gets along well with other cavity nesting birds. These perky little brown birds, with the big voice are great to have around the vegetable garden, especially if you garden organically. When they are nesting (and they will nest 3-4 times down here in the south), they devour thousands of harmful insects and larvae.
The quote by Thalassa Crusco comes to mind when I see a pair of Carolina Wrens making hundreds of trips to their nest bringing juicy bugs to the nestlings.
Today I am sure no one needs to be told that the more birds a yard can support, the fewer insects there will be to trouble the gardener the following year.
Diet of Carolina Wrens
According to Martin, Zim and Nelson in American Wildlife and Plants A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits, a Carolina Wren's diet consists mainly of animal food, including ants and other Hymenoptera, flies and millipedes. Fragments of small vertebrate animals are commonly found in their stomachs. Plant food makes up a small part of their diet and consists of Poision-ivy, Bayberry, Pine, Oak and Sweetgum.
Birds Love Suet
A wide variety of birds eat suet and Carolina Wrens love it. We put it out all year long, so we make a special "no-melt" kind. You'll find the recipe below.
Home Made Suet
2 cups (1 block) of LARD (animal fat)
1 cup CRUNCHY Peanut butter (cheap kind)
1 cup of Oatmeal
1 cup of unbleached flour
1 cup of cornmeal or wheat germ
Melt the lard a little in a big glass bowl (30 sec. in the microwave) and mix all of the ingredients together. It gets messy so let the kids get involved, they'll love it! Line a rectangular pan with a sheet of wax paper and press the mixture in. Pop it in the freezer for an hour or so, then cut it into blocks. We find that smaller ones (4" x 2") work best because the birds eat it before it can mildew in the hot, humid weather. Store the blocks in a ziploc bag in the freezer and refill your suet feeder as needed.
Old Fashioned Lard Animal Fat
Old fashioned animal fat or lard is best in suet. Many birds will not eat it if you use vegetable shortening. In my town, it is sometimes hard to find lard, so I've started ordering it from Amazon. This 16 oz size is just right for a batch of suet. I get several packages at a time and freeze the extra ones until I need them.
Suet Cakes and Basket Feeder
Song and Nesting Habits
These little birds have a very loud voice for their size and the males love to sing. The male of the pair that built a nest in the hanging pot would sing with a bug in his mouth almost every time he brought food to the nest.
Listen to the song of the Carolina Wren.
A very interesting and endearing fact is that Carolina Wrens mate for life and that they stay together even when they are not breeding. We were able to observe this first hand with a pair which had a male with white wing and tail feathers. We observed this pair at Christmas in the "birds'" Christmas tree, gobbling up the suet together, then during breeding season and throughout the year.
Carolina Wrens will nest in standard Bluebird boxes with a 1 1/2" opening, but they will also use smaller houses with a 1 1/4 inch opening. Carolina wrens do not just nest in cavities, however, they do like to have a bit of an overhang of sorts when they choose a spot that is not a box. Around our house they've built their dome shaped nest of pine needles, leaves, fine grass and feathers in such an assortment of places and things that it calls for a list.
Photos of Unusual Nesting PlacesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Guide to Eastern Birds' Nests
This book has helped us identify many birds' nests that we have found in our nest boxes and in shrubs and trees on our property. The pictures and descriptions are excellent.
Photo Journal of the Carolina Wren's Nest.
We were lucky to have a pair of Carolina Wrens build a nest in a hanging basket on our front porch. We were able to get some photographs with our automatic motion sensor camera and also our hand-held Canon camera.
Photos Baby Wrens FledgeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Carolina Wren Poll
Do you have Carolina Wrens where you live?
Our Carolina Wrens are at it Again!
The Carolina Wren pair that first nested in the Christmas Wreath that was left up too long (My husband LOVES Christmas and hates to see it go) and then in the hanging basket on the edge of the porch, have now nested around the corner in the window which holds our emergency (hurricane) A/C unit. This makes nest number three.
We first became aware of nest building activity when the cats and I heard little scritch-scratch sounds coming from outside on the right side of the window A/C unit. The cats took turns standing on the air-conditioner to peer out at the little pair as they busily brought pine needles, leaves, roots, moss and some feathers and arranged their dome nest in the small space.
Before we knew it, Mother Wren had laid four eggs and was sitting tight. The eggs hatched a couple of days ago. I knew because I began hearing the male give his, "Honey, I'm bringing food home" song. I just checked and took a picture and it looks like we have 3 (maybe 4) baby Carolina Wrens. We'll count this as Day 3. The babies fledged on Day 12.
Traditional Bluebird House - $ 34.50
This traditional Bluebird House has a 1 9/16 in hole. Woodlink makes high-quality, Ornithologically correct houses and shelters.
There was an old Man
There was an old man with a beard,
Who said: "It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen, Four larks and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard"
by Edward Lear
1812-1888, English landscape Painter and Writer of an original kind of nonsense verse called the limerick.
Carolina Wren Foraging Video
Farmers Remember Quote
Let the farmer remember that every bird destroyed, and every nest robbed, is equivalent to a definite increase in insects with which he already has to struggle. He will soon appreciate the fact that he has a personal interest, and a strong one, in the preservation of birds. - Henry Oldys
Yesterday I took my saw
And some bits of wood,
And I made a little house
Nicely as I could.
I put on a mossy-green
Little pointed roof,
And I cut a tiny door
That is pussy-proof.
For I hope some little wrens
To our yard will come
And will choose my little house
For their little home.
I shall hang it in the boughs
Of the apple-tree,
And I'm sure as rent for it
They will sing to me!
If you put up a well made bluebird house, many birds, including Carolina Wrens and Bluebirds will use it to raise their young.
What kind of wren do you have in your habitat?
Cavity Nesting Birds Poster
A wonderful poster detailing 5 kinds of birds that nest in boxes. It would be a great gift for teachers, kids or birders..
5 Cavity-nesting Birds Posters
Cavity-Nesting Bird Poster. All the best-loved cavity-nesters are pictured on the front. Birdhouse tips, habitat needs, and other information is shown on the on back. Includes five copies.
The Sibley Guide to Birds of North America - $ 31.50
Sibley depicts and annotates 810 species, showing their stages, forms, shapes, colors, and markings. He describes each species' calls and provides a full-color range map showing migration routes as well as its summer, winter, and breeding locations.
Singing Alarm Clock - $ 34.44
The Desk & Alarm Clock has its own special card: Beautiful BirdSongs, a selection of the 9 most beautiful bird songs from our collection. The alarm will awaken you to the gentle serenade of beautiful bird songs every morning.