Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

This girl looks coy with closed eyes but is probably acting. Carolina Wrens pair the year round and may be faithful to the same mate for years, up to a maximum recorded lifespan of 7 years. Great songsters for their size, we can watch them at close quarters as they are not so flighty as larger birds, provided we don’t startle them.

They aren’t fussy about a nest site, which is usually in a cavity below shoulder height and sometimes in brush piles, which this untidy gardener provides abundantly. The nest is a woven dome of grass and stems with a softer lining and even fanciful decoration (aluminum foil, polythene, etc.).

dummy nest of wren

After attaching an opaque plastic bottle to a tree I was glad to find a wren’s nest inside. But after a fortnight it is still empty, probably a dummy made by a Carolina or House Wren. There are several explanations why they make dummy nests, but my favorite is that a wise male lets his wife choose the furnished home she prefers.

Both kinds of wren live in this yard, surprising since they are boisterous birds and similar habits make them competitors. (RG)

By Roger Gosden

A British and American scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology whose career spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. He married Lucinda Veeck, the embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. They retired to Virginia, where he became a master naturalist and writer affiliated with William & Mary.

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