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The Wren's Pajamas

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Every once in awhile, I get sent a photo like these.
What's that little speckled thing in my planter? I only see it at night.

Thanks to Melissa from DC for this adorable conundrum. Zick loves a conundrum. 


 There are these things that appear on my porch every night. What in the world are they?

Thanks to Sharon from Brunswick for this lovely shot from Maine. A puzzled friend sent it to her, and she sent it to me. Even though she knew what it was.



 Pinecones? Mice? Fair question! Read on. 

 Carolina wrens possess a plumage characteristic that's seldom seen, and even more seldom photographed. I've been trying to catch it with my camera for years, and a cooperative bird on Dean's Fork finally granted me an audience in the warm end of October sun.


When I saw the wren preening, I decided to wait and see what might be revealed.


You can see the gray bases of the bird's back feathers here as it raises them. 

And then, shazzam! the secret Carolina wren polka-dots are suddenly revealed! Do click on the photos for greater detail.


You  never see these white spots on a sleek, moving Carolina wren. The bird has to raise and spread its back and rump feathers on purpose. Only then are they revealed.


Having brought them out, the wren leaves them out. And we can also admire the dots and dashes on the leading edge of its primaries.


I believe that these spangles serve a purpose in camouflaging sleeping birds. Otherwise, why would they sleep with their backs turned to any possible observer? To me, these roosting wrens look like lots of things, most of all pinecones or mushrooms, but not much like birds. And I suspect that's the point of those unexpected spots. Were these birds tucked into a tree cavity or rock crevice instead of a metal awning, they'd simply disappear, become part of the scenery. 



It was a true treat to see a Carolina wren in its pajamas during the day. I'd only seen it once before, on a subzero day when this little one tried to catch some rays in between bites of Zick Dough. 


It's finally nasty here. 40 and raining. Time to make the Zick Dough! 


Now you have seen the Wren's Pajamas. 

13 comments:

My fav bird! I have one that comes UNDER garage door ( chipmunk has chewed nice entrance). She hop all over looking for bugs
Fusses @ me if I go out there I just talk back telling her she knows the way out!! Raised a brood in a tile box on Sheldon e came home to fluffy bits that didn’t know way out. Opened both for & raked them out!! Find my cat or prints on top of car/ guess he’s hoping to get closer....

Can’t correct that’s shelf not Sheldon? e = I

Just thought of cute wren “tale” a pair use birdhouse on patio as winter roost. They loudly ( such noise from such a bitty bird) announce bedtime ( 5 pm) she goes in first the he( smaller) pops in only to pop back out!! This went on several tries. Finally I felt he was going to be homeless ( mama mad at dad!) it was going below
0 that night so I got another birdhouse & stuffed it w/ puffs!! By then it was dark & I did have to get dinner...
Both were active next day / bet she reconsidered

I have one sleeping on a security camera under my porch, along with phoebe on a nearby nesting platform. Love it!

If I were to be a bird, it would be the Carolina Wren. I just love their curious, tenacious behavior. We have generations of them in our woods and nesting on/around our house (deck, hanging planters...) Great polka-dot-capture post, Julie!

I always considered Carolina Wrens the "chipmunk of the bird world" due to their perky nature and coloring. One of my favorites!

Wow. How cool! Now we know!

I had a CW sneak in the house the other day. Made it all the way up to my master bedroom where it tried to get out through my closed Windows. It banged a little too hard, was stunned and I thought it went under my cedar chest. I looked, but found nothing. I removed screen from said window and remained quiet for 20 minutes or so. Quietly, I approached the spot to look again. I moved some clothes and VOILA!!!! It looked up and blinked in amazement (startlement? amusement?) I blinked back at it and swam in its beautiful warm buttery Browns and golds.... I spoke quietly to ask it to rest until it was ready to fly again...told it how awesomely beautiful it was and slowly backed away again. After several more minutes, he fluttered to a perch to take one last look at me (I imagine to say bye and thanks) and flew quickly out the window and on its way.

You referenced Zick Dough. I have a question about it. Where should I ask?

I love the patience and photo skills you use in following and sleuthing out this wren. We had a domed nest of Carolina wrens in a hanging flower basket near Roveen's lounger on the back porch this summer. The parents were so secretive that the little ones were nearly ready to fledge before we knew they were there, even with regular watering of the flowers. The parent(s) would zip out so fast on the opposite side of the basket from where we would water it.

Love this! I was going to guess bats, but that wouldn't have made sense for nighttime. I'm going to pay more attention to my Carolina Wrens -- they're among my favorite for belting out the loudest calls from their tiny bodies.

We have Carolina Wrens, but I only seem to see them from fall through spring. Once the House Wrens return, although they are smaller, they seem to out-bully the Carolinas. I'll have to spy on them more closely from now on, to see if I can catch them in their pajamas.

Posted by Anonymous November 3, 2017 at 3:42 AM

We have Wreath Wren. When the weather turns cooler, WW snuggles right into whatever wreath we have on the front door. Last year, I put up a robin's nest shelf under the porch eaves and put some artificial Spanish Moss in it. Might as well put the moss there since the wrens steal it from wreaths all the time. Last winter, WW used the shelf. But so far, not this year. WW scared some Halloweeners on Tues and then flew into the house ignoring our 2 hundred lb dogs. We were able to guide it to an open door on the back porch. WW gave us an earful once outside and then flew away.

Something new about my favorite bird...along with Black-capped Chickadees. I don't believe I have ever seen that even though the wrens nest on both our porches some years. Thanks!

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