Crack of dawn the pair of Carolina Wrens that call our yard “home” sing their joyful “tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle” and we know they’ve survived another night.
A dear friend gave us a roosting basket which we hung that very day. One of our Carolina Wrens began using it immediately to safely survive the night
The second bird spends winter nights down inside it’s nest of last year, which we’ve left exactly where they built it, in one of our hanging baskets. So, yes, our hanging baskets hang year round from our porch – a bit unsightly, but not to a wildlife gardener.
Prowling outdoor cats also take their toll. In each case the baskets are beyond a cat’s reach.
Carolina Wrens feed primarily on insects and spiders. In winter this diet can be a challenge, but not in a wildlife garden where insect-rich and spider-rich leaf litter, downed trees, upturned roots, and vegetation tangles are all available.
If you live in the East and once had Carolina Wrens and wonder why they’ve gone, it may be as simple as providing some of these buggy habitats and a safe place to survive the night.
Carolina Wrens are with us year round. They do not migrate.
They may build their nest in a natural site like a tree cavity, a tangle of vines, a tree stump, or in conifer branches. They are also attracted to artificial sites and have been known to build their nest in an open mailbox or a bicycle basket. We’ve had them build nests under the cover of our house propane tank and one year inside a ball of twine on a shelf in our shed. Of course we had to leave the shed door open for 24 days until the young fledged.
The year they built their nest in our open barbecue grill was fun. No grilling that spring.
In recent years they’ve settled on our hanging baskets, much to our delight. It’s this very nest that now provides shelter and safety on cold winter nights.
As a long-time wildlife gardener, I’ve learned to question every action. Is it necessary? Will it be detrimental to wildlife? Most times, I talk myself out of one task or another. Am I lazy or a wise wildlife gardener? The joys I’ve experienced are my proof.
Share your Carolina Wren stories. If you don’t have a story of your own, begin to wonder why.
© 2012, Pat Sutton. All rights reserved. This article is the property of Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. If you are reading this at another site, please report that to us