By Bronwyn Clear
Carolina Wrens are tiny beguiling fellows with booming voices! In the birding world small brown birds are sometimes lumped together and called Little Brown Jobs, or LBJs for short. A huge noise comes out of these particular little round birds, and when they blast, they often repeat their call in 3’s or 4’s. You might hear “CheeseburgerCheeseburgerCheeseburger” or “WeNeedYou WeNeedYou WeNeedYou”, or even “FigaroFigaroFigaro”. However, when they are encouraging their chicks to leave the nest for the big new world, the parents make a lovely quiet trilling call.
These bitty birds are easy to hear but often very hard to see! They blend in extremely well with leaf litter and tree trunks. Shy, restless but very curious, these fellows are always on the move. Carolina Wrens will explore your garage or patio, ruffle through your yard leaves and brush piles, and flit to low branches to climb up and down tree trunks. They hop around endlessly and seem to never quit moving, and extended flight is not one of their stronger assets.
Nesting generally no more than 6’ off the ground, these wrens are rather indiscriminate and will nest almost anywhere. In your garage you may be surprised to find their little 5” nests in a flower pot or a cardboard box! Outside they may nest in dense yaupon stands or tall thick shrubbery. Clutch sizes range from 3-7 eggs, and newly fledged chicks are only 2-1/2” tall! These babies have fuzzy head feathers, short wings and the tiniest of tails! Encouraged by their parents, they don’t fly so much as hop and climb, staying low near the ground their first day or two out of the nest. They will learn how to forage for insects, climb trees, and flit from limb to limb, all while staying safely tucked out of sight!
Learn more about the incredible nature in our area by joining a chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist organization. To find a chapter close to you, or to read about the state program, go online to www.txmn.org. Volunteer and get involved!
Adult Carolina Wrens are only 5” tall. Loud but shy, they blend into the forest with cinnamon wings, white eyebrow stripes and little round bodies. They use their curved beaks to turn over ground litter and find insects.
A Carolina Wren nest is made of mud, leaves and twigs, and is only about 5” wide by 5” deep. They often make side entrances like this one, and these wrens must be Texas born because they obviously like football!
There is no better camouflage for a chick than to look like a small pile of leaves! Note how tiny his tail and wings are during his first hours out of the nest.
Carolina Wrens are not strong flyers, and must climb, hop and flit to go where they want. One of the first instinctive actions this fledgling has is to climb up a nearby pine tree.