After several years of membership in Seabrook Island Birders, I still consider myself a novice. I am content to know a Baltimore Oriole from a Red-winged Blackbird. I am in awe of those with birding scopes and those who can spot a slight flutter in the trees and immediately identify an obscure bird.
I had a short conversation last week with a very knowledgeable Seabrook birder about the Carolina Wren. This bird seems to be everywhere on Seabrook and is always noisy. When I’m on my porch with my Merlin Bird ID app, I hear the Carolina Wren and Northern Cardinal more than any other bird. What is even more puzzling to me is that the Carolina Wren doesn’t always sound the same.
Within an hour of our conversation, my birder friend sent me several links. And so my education began. Here are a few fun facts I learned about the songs of the Carolina Wren. I have also included the websites I explored.
Who sings? Only the male sings. The song is a series of several quick, whistled notes, repeated as many as 15 times before changing the tune. A male may also be joined in song by another nearby male. The female may provide a thrill at the end of a song.
Why is its song so loud? Birds have a syrinx at the bottom of the windpipe where the bronchial tubes split apart into the lungs. The syrinx is surrounded by an air sac. These work like a resonating chamber to sustain or magnify sound.
What does the Carolina Wren sing? Not just one song. The male may have 27-41 different song types. Sometimes your hear “germany.” Other times you may hear “tea kettle” or “cheery.” The male also chatters and can make harsh, scolding calls.
When does the Carolina Wren sing? The short answer is all the time. While many birds sing early or late in the day, the Carolina Wren sings at any daylight hour, all year long. That means the Carolina Wren can be heard anywhere at any time during the year on Seabrook Island!
Links I referenced:
American Bird Conservancy: Carolina Wren
Carl Helm’s Birds of Seabrook Island: Carolina Wren
The Cornell Lab All About Birds: Carolina Wren Sounds
Bird Note: How Birds Sing So Loud
Submitted by Joyce Phillips
2 thoughts on “Carolina Wren: That amazing singer”
Well done. I enjoyed your article.
Wonderful article. Carolina Wrens are so fun!