Carolina Wren… The Bird of South Carolina

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren

This is the Carolina Wren (Thyothorus ludovicianus).  This picture was also captured in Memphis, Tennessee over the holiday break.  This is one of my favorite bird species.  The Carolina Wren is the State Bird of the state I have lived all my life, South Carolina (even though the species name ludovicianus means “from Louisiana”).  It is one of the first birds I really watched carefully when I started getting into birding.  If you have ever watched these birds you will know that they are very interesting.  As I watch them, either in my backyard or in a forest, they always seem to have a distinct personality that sets them apart from other songbirds.  They make an array of sounds at each other that is almost like they are speaking their own unique language (which lets face it, they are).

These birds are very prevalent all throughout the eastern United States and even into Mexico and the southern regions of Canada.  They are sensitive to cold weather, which does tend to limit their range, but due to the warming temperatures over the last half century they have undergone range expansion and can be seen venturing into more northern regions.  They are generally permanent residents in their range, although the northern populations do migrate south during the cold seasons.  They mainly eat small insects found in leaf litter, but will eat small lizards and frogs as well.  When those foods are not available they will feed on seeds, berries, and other small fruits.  Due to this varied diet, they can be seen at you feeders during the winter (when food is scarce), or under you feeder other times of the year searching for the creepy crawlers that are coming after the waste seed that falls below your feeder.  They build small, dome-shaped nests in cavities.  They tend not to be shy about where they build their nests and man-made structures such as porches, shed, and signs make great places for them to build.  Last summer we had a Carolina Wren nest in the back of the boathouse at St. John’s Kayak Tours.  The birds were busy for weeks bringing food to the babies and did seem to care if I was in there or not.

These are cool little birds that are readily seen within their range.  Since they are generally permanent residents, the same individual birds can usually be seen coming to your yard throughout the year and almost become pets if you have a feeder in your yard.  I love watching these birds and could not think of a better representative for my State Bird.

For more info on the Carolina Wren click Here


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