A Little Brown Bird with a Bodacious Voice – and Personality

The first birdsong of the morning was the bright, musical song of a Carolina Wren. Belted out like a Broadway tune, the melody rang from the shrubs on the edge of the house, jubilee-jubilee-jubilee – just one song variation in the extensive repertoire of a Carolina Wren.

The second and third songs also came from Carolina Wrens – our most vocal birds right now. While many other songbirds have fallen rather quiet at this time of year, Carolina Wrens fill the days with a variety of songs and a wide array of calls that are almost as varied and impressive in different ways – trills, buzzy fussing, burbling, bleating calls that tumble through the bushes and around the yard.

A Carolina Wren is a small, cinnamon-brown bird with a short, stubby shape and an abundance of attitude. A jaunty white stripe over its eye; a long, strong, down-curved bill; and a long tail often turned up – all help to reflect its confident, bold demeanor, which at times seems out of all proportion to its size.

Though I think of a Carolina Wren as a typically southern bird, it’s now common throughout most of the eastern U.S. As the climate has warmed, it has expanded its range substantially over the past century or so. It’s very much at home around the house and yard, the one most likely to build its nest in a hanging plant or an old flower pot or a forgotten basket on the shelf of a garage.

This little brown bird graces our days with beautiful music – also out of all proportion to its size and appearance. We’re very lucky to have them.


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