On New Year’s Day morning, my plan was to sleep late after watching the ball drop to ring in 2023, but my backyard Carolina Wren had other ideas.
Bright and early at 6:30 am, far earlier than I planned to be up on this day, one of my backyard wrens was in my bathroom window loudly projecting his dactylic pentameter “teakettle, teakettle, teakettle, teakettle, teakettle,” song.
Amazingly, such a tiny bird has such a loud song he keeps singing throughout the day. It’s as if the singing never stops.
Carolina Wren First Bird on My List for 2023
My eyes still foggy from my slumber, I caught a quick glimpse of the adorable cinnamon-brown bird flitting his long tail as he quickly moved left to right and back and forth in milliseconds.
I grew even more tired just witnessing this songbird’s never-ending energy.
Was this symphony a hint to get up and put on a kettle of tea to start my day? Did the wren know the New Year means it’s time to begin a new bird list and his morning serenade put him #1 on my list for 2023? Or perhaps the suet feeder needed fresh peanut nuggets, and his song was a reminder to fill it to his liking.
I was overmatched by his morning adrenaline, or adWRENaline, as I like to call it. But, clearly, I was the lesser species at that moment.
Backyard Birds Run the Yard
Backyard birds, like our family pets, have a way of controlling us, so we do things to their liking.
They can’t jump on us to wake us up, lick our faces, or sit on our heads. So instead, they rely on the one thing they do so masterfully: sing! And do they love to sing! The birds run the show outside.
I can’t tell you how many times Blue Jays remind us they’re hungry with their loud calls. And, of course, there’s one backyard squirrel named Yennifer that opens the back screen door and takes pecans from her personal stash. Or Knut, the backyard bear that plunders the feeders in summer, leaving a patch of destruction behind.
We’re not just for the birds. We’re for nature. And the wildlife here keeps us on our toes.
The past summer, we had a spider in our window living on the small insects that crept into the cracks of the sills. We kept the outside window open, so the spider could come and go, but the screen was down inside the house.
Knowing the spider was there, we were careful cleaning the windows. It was doing its job, and we coexisted with this creature. Then, in late fall, we catch a glimpse of a Carolina Wren pop in the window and, in a flash, grabs the spider as a snack and flies away. RIP spider.
Carolina Wrens are Lightening Fast
So on this cold New Year’s morning, the wren kept singing very loudly, and once I got close to the window, he quickly hopped to the top of the shed and flitted to the deck railing. Wrens are so quick and agile; if you blink, you might miss them.
This was a game of songbird and human, and I had no chance of winning.
These adorable songbirds are like chipmunks with wings. They match in color and speed, and they’re always getting into mischief and then bolting from the scene of the crime in a flash.
Besides the early morning wake-up calls, these bold, charismatic, energetic little songbirds are a treat in my backyard. It’s challenging to attract them, so when you do, you know you’re doing something right.
The key is to think like a wren (that doesn’t mean dining on bugs) and cater to their needs by providing the right food, water, shelter, and nesting sites. And understanding their wren antics.
The peanut suet nuggets are a hit with the wrens, and they’re happy to eat alongside nuthatches and woodpeckers.
If there is a contest among backyard birds for the speediest, I’d say the Carolina Wren and the Red-breasted Nuthatch would tie. Both visit the feeder and are off in a flash. But, unfortunately, their coloring makes it challenging to spot them.
Wrens Take Over Human Space and Possessions
What I love most about wrens is their taking over human space and possessions.
The wren’s motto has to be, “Su casa, mi casa.”
If you leave have wrens in your yard, use caution leaving a car trunk, garage door open, or barn or shed door ajar because the wren will find it and take up residency. And sometimes, this residency can end on a sad note if the bird doesn’t have access to food or water.
Before you rack your brain about where a small wren might nest or roost, consider these tiny songbirds can commander anything you have outside. And if you have yard clutter and containers with a 2.5” opening, they will find it and make it a home.
Wrens are nature’s upcyclers turning things like empty newspaper boxes, old coat pockets, hanging flower baskets, rusted-out mufflers, shoe boxes, old shoes, and flower pots into homes.
Since wrens like having dense cover, we keep brush piles on an elevated pallet in the backyard for the birds to use as shelter on cold nights and to protect them from predators. The wrens love flitting in and out of the branches, sticks, and tree stumps throughout the day, and it provides them a place to hide out so they don’t feel exposed in the yard.
The reward of keeping these perky little birds safe is enjoying them serenading you with their rich, musical songs that entertain you with their inquisitive nature and protect you against all the creepy crawlies they love to eat.
And knowing that having a Carolina Wren is a privilege not earned by every backyard birder.
Even if they wake you with a loud symphony on your coveted day off.