Nov 18 2009

Who’s singing?

Published by at 7:00 am under Bird Behavior,Songbirds

Carolina Wren (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)
I can answer that.  Almost no one.

Since midsummer we've lost more than five hours of sunlight so there's not much reason to sing.  The migrant songbirds have left and only our locals (chickadees and cardinals) and some winter visitors (dark-eyed juncoes) remain.  Most of them have nothing to say.

My only hope for birdsong is at dawn and the singer is the bird pictured here - the Carolina wren.

According to the range maps, Carolina wrens don't migrate but I wonder if they change territories in the winter.  What explains the new scuffles and song duels they engaged in in October?  Why does each wren now sing briefly at dawn? 

I hear them pipe up one after the other.  "I'm here," says the wren down the street.  "I'm here," says another across the ballpark.  "I'm here," says a third up the hill.  After this brief exchange of greetings they fall silent. 

You have to be out early to hear birdsong this month.

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Who’s singing?”

  1. Rachelon 18 Nov 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I am far too north now to have Carolina wrens and I miss their chatter and call. They have been one of my favorite birds for many years now.

  2. kellyon 18 Nov 2009 at 2:53 pm

    the carolina wrens in my residential neighborhood in coastal new jersey have been super-vocal lately, diligently going through entire repertoires it seems loudly and proudly. the other morning i counted the descending “cheer” call of one bird who repeated the call w/out pause over 200 times. then, i lost count. seriously.
    one of my favorite birds, for sure.

  3. Kayon 03 May 2010 at 11:43 am

    I’ve had carolina wrens nesting near by for the last several years. Last year they picked a planter on my patio – so needless to say the petunias planted there did not weather the summer very well. The chicks seemed to be there one day and not the next – this was after they were well on their way to learning to fly. Dad (I think) would come and sit on the fence every evening and sing that lovely song to announce his arrival with whatever he had brought to eat. He would fly onto the planter and mom would fly out. The nest was never unattended. During the past 3 winters three carolina wrens nested in a hanging planter that had originally housed a staghorn fern. When the weather changed I transplanted the fern to an inside planter and it was then that I realized that the 3 wrens had dug 3 holes in the moss and roosted there every night. Around 4 every afternoon all 3 would come to the fence and give me a lovely song before their bedtime – and at first light – the same lovely song every morning – as if to say “thanks for a warm safe place for the night”. Even now that the weather is warming up – I still see evidence that they are still using the planter for night time roosting. Hope mom and dad come back this spring to raise a new family – they were fascinating to watch.

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