The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

Carolina Wren

Not sure of me

Photo by Maymie Higgins

Scientific Name:  Thryothorus ludovicianus 

Where Carolina Wrens Live:   

Southeastern United States, north to Wisconsin and Michigan, southern Ontario, New York, and southern New England in brushy thickets, lowland cypress swamps, bottomland woods, preferring shrubby, wooded residential areas, overgrown pastures, abandoned buildings, and yards with brush piles around.


What Carolina Wrens Eat:  

Mostly caterpillars, moths, stick bugs, leafhoppers, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and a small amount of plant matter such as fruit pulp. Sometimes they eat lizards, frogs, or snakes.

How Long Carolina Wrens Live:  Up to 6 years 

Why Carolina Wrens are Awesome:  

Carolina Wrens do not migrate.  Rather, a breeding pair mates for life and defends their territory year-round, using calls and songs to establish their turf.  (I will be blogging about bird calls and songs this month.)

Conservation of Carolina Wrens:   

The Carolina Wren was included on the National Audubon Society’s Blue List in 1980–1981 and Special Concern List in 1982–1986 because populations were considered low in some parts of its range.  But now Carolina Wrens are common across their range and their populations are increasing. Icy, snowy winters can abruptly reduce local populations, but they soon recover. The Carolina Wren habitat range has expanded northward over the last one hundred years.  Speculation is this bird has benefited from forest fragmentation and reforestation and from the increased amount of backyard bird feeders.

Personal Experience with Carolina Wrens: 

Several times each day, several of these gregarious and vocal wrens visit the platform and bark butter feeders that hang in front of my home office window.  It is not uncommon for a client on the phone to comment about hearing birds when these wrens chatter, even though I have the window closed.  I enjoy watching them munch on the dried mealworms I buy especially for them, particularly in winter when invertebrates are much more difficult for the wrens to come by.

Still not sure of me

Photo by Maymie Higgins

Carolina Wrens will build nests in surprising places.  Just last week, I noticed one going in and out of my recycling can, the lid for which was not entirely closed.  Upon closer inspection, I found the beginnings of a nest inside, of all things, an empty plastic mealworm tub that’s thickness prevented the bin lid from closing.  Though I removed the tub, I saved it and will relocate it to a more suitable potential nesting site.

Carolina Wrens have several broods per year and will often nest very close to homes.  Last year, I was blessed to have two subsequent nests, I believe by the same breeding pair, on my front porch.  The first nest was in a bird bottle obtained at Colonial Williamsburg and attached under the eave by the front porch at least ten years ago.  One rainy April morning, I was having my coffee on the porch and noticed wrens going in and out of the bottle.  My heart leapt when I realized there were nestlings in the bottle!

Bird Bottle

Photo by Maymie Higgins


Photo by Maymie Higgins

After that brood had fledged, it was not very long before I noticed eggs in one of the roosting baskets that hang along my front porch.  Another successful clutch!

More babies

Photo by Maymie Higgins

I see Carolina Wrens all year round and always smile when I see them popping in and out of the roosting baskets at dusk in the wintertime.  I am very happy to provide them with safe haven in the cold weather.  There is also a wren that roosts in the Confederate Jasmine that is just behind my hot tub.  When I go out for a late night soak, I remove the hot tub cover very gingerly so as not to scare the wren out, which would make it vulnerable to nocturnal predators.

Wild Bird Video Productions has captured some great video of Carolina Wrens.  Enjoy!

3 comments on “Carolina Wren

  1. Maymie Higgins
    March 21, 2014

    As luck would have it, I discovered a pair of Carolina Wrens engaged in nest building activity during my lunch hour. I hurriedly captured some photos of them taking advantage, once again, of the roosting baskets on my front porch. Be still, my heart. Here are pictures at Imgur


  2. Pingback: Carolina Wren | Words We Women Write

  3. Lois Mickiewicz
    April 2, 2016

    We have a cat door from our driveway into our garage. The wrens hop through the cat door and build a nest in our garage every year. They teach their young how to leave via the cat door when they fledge.


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This entry was posted on March 20, 2014 by in Birds, Carolina Wren, Maymie Higgins, Ornithology, Wildlife and tagged , .
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