I was sitting in my bedroom doing some work on the computer when I heard a familiar song behind me. It wasn’t coming from the clock radio. It wasn’t even that type of song. It was a bird song, of course, and it was being belted out richly by a Carolina Wren.
“Tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle!” Loud and strong.
It was nice to hear the song. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard a lot of birdsong in New England. I’ve heard plenty of bird calls — non-melodic chips often coming from cardinals and White-throated Sparrows — but not a lot of songs. But this Carolina Wren was in full voice. Why? I’m not exactly sure. I’ve heard Carolina Wrens sing in the winter before, plenty of times. My guess is that it’s territorial posturing. That’s part of why birds sing in the spring, mostly over breeding territories. I think this wren was protecting his feeding station.
(Story continues below, with more photos, too.)
Carolina Wrens never stop amazing me when it comes to their songs. They are small birds — less than 6 inches in length — but really belt out their songs. Cardinals are loud songsters, too, but the loud songs seem to fit them. Cardinals are bigger and boldly colored. The wrens are small and brownish. But boy do they have strong lungs (well, really a syrinx.
So, of course, I stopped the work I was doing and walked over to the window. The wren was on the suet feeder at the time. It goes back and forth from the suet feeder to the adjacent platform feeder filled with sunflower seeds. They may be brownish, but they are handsome birds with beautiful, understated colors and markings.
Carolina Wrens are moving their range northward and are becoming more common throughout southern and middle New England. If you miss them at your feeders this winter, don’t worry, you’ll be sure to hear them soon enough.