Chilly Wren

We have a cold, blustery, snowy weekend ahead. We have mostly had an unseasonably warm winter this year, which has been good for the Carolina Wren. They are our little visitors from the south, who aren’t really meant to live this far north. They are not as cold-hardy as many of our birds in West Virginia and they rely on insects for the majority of their food sources. Because of these factors, sadly, a percentage of the ones living this far north, do not survive the winter. This little one looked rather chilly today. I can’t help but worry about them. They are one of my favorite types of birds. They are so friendly and sweet. And they eat the spiders that try to cover the outside of my front window with webs. They mate for life, staying with their partners year-round.

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It’s not a great photograph, but I just wanted to remind people to try to do a little something for these guys. You can help them out by putting out little containers or boxes, especially near houses or windowsills, and it will help them keep warm over the winter. One pair lived in a little gift bag that I placed in my kitchen windowsill for several years, raising many batches of babies in it.

I have a pair living in a hanging flower basket on my front deck. They raised their last batch of babies there in the fall and have been spending the winter there. I saw one of them this morning trying to make things a bit cozier in there.

They do eat at seeds and things sometimes, but it’s not their main food source. If you know someone that raises meal worms for fishing, I’ve heard they love meal worms. I do know that they will often search the bottoms of feeders or the ground under feeders for broken little bits of sunflower seeds. I don’t think that they can break open the seeds on their own, as it is not their intended diet. They love cat food. So if you have cat food sitting outdoors this time of year, you might find one rooting around in your cat food bowl looking for crumbs small enough for them to eat. I’ve been known to put a little bit of Meow Mix cat food in a Ziploc sandwich bag, and tap on it with a hammer to create little crumbs, then place it somewhere they can find it. They love this.

So if you live in West Virginia and north of us, try to show a little love to the Carolina Wren and help them get through the winter. They will reward you by helping keep down the insect population around your home, yard, and garden.

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