Morning Glory

The Carolina Wrens are at it again.

The flower that the wren is singing to is a Purple Bindweed.

Singing loudly, this little one serenaded its companion, the lavender flower of a Morning glory vine.   While I could only manage one clear shot of this particular adult on the morning of the glorious concert, it was a family of four–both parents and two fledgling wrens–who were chirping and feeding in the area along a fence covered in vines.

Carolina wrens are delightful native songbirds living and breeding throughout a wide swath of the eastern and southeastern parts of the U.S.  I suspect that the wren couple currently visiting my garden are on their second brood for this year, as there were some fledglings in late spring (May) and now, two new little wrens accompany their cheery parents on their neighborhood rounds.  Wrens have never nested in my garden, but they nest nearby and visit daily.  Wrens are well-known for building nests in odd spots:  little eggs laid in hats left abandoned, then transformed into bird nurseries;  hungry chicks with mouths wide open in empty pockets of blue jeans or work shirts left hung on clotheslines; tiny birds peeping hungrily from typically quiet mailboxes, and wren babies settled in nesting material atop patio ceiling fans are examples of the quirky nesting choices made by wrens.

Busy birds who don’t stay still for long, wrens eat insects and spiders, as well as the occasional lizard and small snake.  In winter, my wrens love the commercial suet that I hang in the garden.  They hunt for food in brushy, shrubby habitats of both urban and rural habitats where they’re well-hidden by foliage. As wrens forage low to the ground, I spot them only because the limbs of shrubs and perennials wave mysteriously and when I investigate, a Carolina wren–or two–dash up and away from the foliage cover and insect buffet.

This is an ideal environment for wrens; full of native plants, safe in cover, with available water.

This is an ideal environment for wrens because it’s full of native plants (paired with non-natives, too) which provide cover and food,  along with available water.

 

Wrens climb trees, snipping insects and bark lice as they go; when they forage on the ground, they sweep leaf  detritus in their search for munchable meals.  Their pointed, slightly curved beaks are ideal for grabbing insects, whether hunting on shrubs, in trees, or on the ground.

Like other wildlife, wrens benefit from brush piles because the piles are rich with diverse insect populations and provide cover for the wrens as they feed.  The vines on my back fence act similarly by providing habitat for abundant insect life and leafy protection from predators as the wrens hop from one area to another in the never ending search for their meals.

Carolina wrens are monogamous for each season and defend their territory year-round, which means that they sing all the time and I’m privileged to enjoy their beautiful songs and calls.  Carolina wrens are comfortable in my garden; we–birds and gardener–are partners sharing a healthy habitat.

 

17 thoughts on “Morning Glory

  1. GREAT POST and AWESOME photos! I am not sure how you managed to get the photos you did because the Wrens in Mississippi and here are to busy to sit still long enough. The male Carolina Wren at the mansion in Mississippi would build a nest in the housing around the AC every spring while I was there to lure a mate. When his mate would arrive, she would, of course, tear it out and build a new one. The Wren here got pretty upset with me one spring, especially when I failed to pay attention. He, or she, would go to the wren house but wouldn’t go in. Then it would come to where I was and scream at me then fly back to the house. Finally, I paid attention and checked the house. There was a very large old paper wasp nest blocking the entrance. I took it out and moved the house to a more suitable location since they never used it where it was. They built their nest somewhere behind the chicken house but I couldn’t tell where. They didn’t use the wren house AGAIN this year but she comes around on occasion to let me know she is alive and well. Thanks for sharing and congratulations​ on the photos!

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    • Thanks! The wren was stationary for several minutes as his/her babies were bopping around the fence. They can be hard birds to catch, though I find the titmice and chickadees much more difficult to photograph! Wrens have lots of personality and definitely make their views known to us, don’t they?

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      • The Wren seems a little bossy. The hardest for me to photograph to date was the White-Breasted Nuthatch. They keep moving to the other side of the tree. I did get some great photos finally.

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  2. Wrens are so delightful. They used to live around the cabin in the hill country; I don’t see or hear them here. Of course, in my area the kind of brushiness they like just doesn’t exist. Even a few miles away they can find a more congenial neighborhood.

    I was interested to read that they sing all year, as a way of marking and defending territory. I’d noticed that they tend to be pretty vocal, but hadn’t really considered the reason. They do have a pretty song. The only songbirds I hear regularly are the cardinals, the mockingbirds, and the house finch. I’ll hear Carolina chickadees and goldfinches, but more as conversationalists than singers.

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    • Funnily enough, I don’t think I heard them as much as I usually do, though I know they’ve been around all summer. But they’re around now and I’m enjoying their songs/calls when I’m out, though I must say, I’m not enjoying the heat. UGH!

      I also haven’t had as many house finches this summer and some of the ones I’ve seen have the eye disease–poor babies. You’re right that they chitter-chat more than sing.

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  3. Fabulous photos. I have never heard of these adorable wrens. Our Eurasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes builds several nests and the female chooses which one she wants to use.

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