Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I have been told that wrens nesting in the yard is good luck. Anyone know the origin of that idea? Since I have a pair of Bewick's wrens nest in my yard every year, I am willing to believe the tale. We can all use a little more luck.

I enjoy watching these little birds. Talk about a Napoleonic complex--these guys have a lot of attitude crammed into a little body.

Although Carolina Wrens are common in this area, I have rarely heard them in my yard--I assumed because the Bewick's were keeping them out. I have occasionally had Carolina Wrens and Bewick's Wrens at the feeders in the winter, but most birds seem to get along better outside of breeding season. However, a couple of weeks ago, I started hearing Carolina Wrens when I went out back. I was hoping that did not mean they had run out the Bewicks. I worried for several days, but can now say I have seen and heard both types of wrens around the yard now, so apparently they can get along.

Other than the song, to me the best way to tell the two birds apart is the brighter color of the Carolina and the distinctive outside white feathers of the Bewick's. I don't know if it is an accurate observation, but it has also seemed to me that the Bewick's has a bit more of an attitude. Of course, all wrens display a lot of attitude, but it seems to me the little Bewick has it in spades.

There is some question whether the Carolina Wren and the Bewick's Wren may compete. If so, the Bewick's appears to be the one losing the competition as their numbers are in decline. There is documented impact of House Wrens on nesting of the Bewick's, but we don't have nesting House Wrens in our area, so is not an issue here.

I look forward to watching several more seasons of wrens fledging in the yard and giving me continuing good luck.


Jim Miller said...

I googled around awhile but came up empty on any connection between luck and wrens. Following your blog here has raised my awareness somewhat of the birds hanging out at River Bend. The other day, for example, while taking yet another break from reducing our aging sunflower population, I confirmed (to my mind, at least) the presence of Bewick's wrens. Later, coming up the trail from the pond I caught a glimpse of what I'm sure was an oriole from Baltimore, most likely. I jockeyed around for a better look, and danged if the bird hadn't turned into a cardinal!

Penny Miller said...

I'm probably going to regret asking, but why were you getting rid of your aging sunflowers. Winter food!! But since it was at work, I am not expecting an answer.

Yes, I have noticed that birds have an uncanny ability to morph from one bird to another.

Jim Miller said...

I'm glad you asked that! We don't completely get rid of old, fading sunflowers. We--okay, I--remove them from the swithcback trail because they are so prolific that they totally dominate everything else. So I selectively thin them as they fade and leave the cut ones where the birds still find them.

Penny Miller said...

I can see it on the switchback--they are overwhelming there.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Hi Penny.
Jim pointed me to your blog. I'm so glad because I like to watch birds. Hummingbirds are my fascination right now. We've had an increase in numbers, up to 10 or 12 the past few days, rather than the usual 4 we've had this summer. They seem to be young ones, and I wondered if they were already migrating. Jim said to ask you. He sent me some great information he found, and it mentions their migration.
Your article about the wrens is interesting. We might have some. I need to look at my bird book to see.
Beverly McClure

Penny Miller said...

Thanks for stopping by Beverly. I hope you'll stop by periodically. And yes, the hummingbirds are migrating through now, so it is good they have a place to fuel up at your house.