It is difficult to tell the females apart from the males because they share similar coloring and marking. Both males and females have a bright, unpatterned reddish-brown body with a warm buff-colored chest. A long white eyebrow stripe, dark bill, and white chin and throat make the small bird quite distinctive. They are the largest of the wrens.
This is the first time I have seen these wrens on the property. They are year-round birds in the region according to bird books, even more so in the last few decades as Ohio has become warmer. Their diet consists mainly of insects and spiders but they will eat slugs and even small frogs if given the opportunity. They rarely eat fruit or seeds. It is birds like the Carolina Wren that become fast friends with the gardener.
The wrens’ nest is a fine domed structure that was built by both mama and papa wren. I can recognize things from the yard and garden in the nest and it pleases me they were able to find everything they needed to keep their brood warm and dry.
Four very loud babies vocalize their love for food and even venture slightly outside the dome to get a closer look at the world outside the garage. Fortunately for the wren babies, what is beyond the garage is a yard and a garden that will be prime turf for growing up to be a big, well as big as a wren can be, healthy bird.
Both parents have been spotted on several occasions bringing food to the wren babies. Using their long, thin slightly curved bill they catch insects and carry them back to the nest.
Baby wrens don’t stay in the nest long. Within two to three weeks they will be ready to start learning how to care for themselves. A garden full of wonderful insects to eat will hopefully persuade them to stay close where they can help me maintain the chemical-free garden.
Attracting beneficial birds to the garden can result in a partnership that benefits both you and the birds. The Carolina Wren family may have initially been interested in the growing brush pile that has developed on the east side of the property behind the barn.
Wren’s like to nest low to the ground and they are usually heard rather than seen because they are shy. They like low branches and bushes where they can hide and feel safe from the elements.
Wrens, like all birds, need clean water to drink. Birdbaths are a bit on the high maintenance side, but birds enjoy them for drinking and splashing. Birds are very good at finding clean water sources if you decide a bird bath is not for you.
Because wrens eat mostly insects, there is no need to feed them in the warmer months if you have a chemical-free yard and garden where the natural order of things maintains itself. Using chemicals in the yard and garden to combat weeds and insects will reduce the number of insects, the birds’ food supply, and the wrens will move on.
More than just a partner in insect control for the garden, wrens brings their song, their playfulness and a sense of natural balance to the garden.
Published: May 1, 2012