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Several Carolina Wren Sightings

Published August 18, 2013
Tags: General Observations, Carolina Wren, Eastern Wood Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Belted Kingfisher, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Canada Warbler

A couple of days ago, on a hike through Oatka Creek, I encountered more Carolina Wrens than I think I have in an entire year. Doug Happ and I found three different pairs, two pairs were very obviously bringing food to their young. As a matter of fact, the last pair we encountered, we saw the fledglings. That was a real treat!

I wanted to return to Oatka Creek to find a Yellow-billed Cuckoo that has been heard there. I never heard it this time, although I was certain I heard it twice on my last visit. Unfortunately, my high hopes were in vain on this visit.

We traveled the path along the other side of Oatka Creek and, in addition to the 8 Carolina Wrens, we saw and heard at least 5 Eastern Wood Pewees, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a couple of Wood Ducks in eclipse plumage, a couple of Great Blue Herons, 2 shorebirds: a Spotted Sandpiper and a Solitary Sandpiper, 2 Belted Kingfishers, many Cedar Waxwings catching a newly hatched swarm of insects, a Scarlet Tanager, a family of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Common Yellowthroat, a Yellow Warbler, and Doug spotted a Canada Warbler. I never got to actually see the Canada, but we heard his song several times. There were at least 2 singing males and the one female that Doug saw. He was especially elated with the nice views he got because it was a FOY bird for him.

On the trip home, Doug pointed out a Northern Mockingbird up on a wire. We turned around and discovered a family of them. That was a great treat! And just before we resumed our drive, we watched one of the parents dive-bomb a Red-tailed Hawk. He actually gave the retreating hawk a "whack" with its beak on the hawk's back!

Back home, I had been listening to a Carolina Wren for several days. The variety of sounds that these birds make is amazing! And beautiful! I just read that the male sings the loud song but the female also sings and interweaves its song so that the pair sound like one bird singing. Fascinating! Anyway, after enjoying their songs for a few days, I finally decided to grab my camera and head back into the woods to see if I could find the happy couple. I found them almost immediately! Mister and his missus were busy gathering food for their young ones. I never saw the nest nor the kids, but I got some very nice views of the two of them. I was able to capture a few photos of them that I'm sharing below too.

Being that we're in mid-August, I imagine all four of the pairs I saw were probably on their second brood of the year - at least. Did you know that the Carolina Wren will build more than one nest to confuse predators? They'll also use snake skins, hair, and feathers to weave into their dome-shaped nests.

I thought it was also interesting that a pair of Carolinas can form their bond for life at any time of the year, not just during breeding season. From that point on, they will forage and travel around together.

Since our winters have been getting warmer, the Carolina Wrens have been expanding their over-wintering territory northward. I'm hopeful that I'll get to see this couple up at the suet feeders this winter.


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Great Blue Heron fishing in the creek
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One of the 3-4 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers we saw
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Spotted Sandpiper
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Solitary Sandpiper
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Carolina Wren bringing food to its young
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Carolina Wren in the woods behind our house
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Carolina Wren
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Carolina Wren
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Carolina Wren
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Carolina Wren