Thursday, April 13, 2017

Latest, Most Favorite Feathered Friend: Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren April 2017
"A Carolina Wren stands on the neighbor's deck, belting out his song, repeated, repeated, repeated. His whole body stretches and bulges with the effort, and I wonder as I have many times before: How can so much sound come from such a tiny blot of keratin and muscle?...I still remember the scene vividly: the loud, pealing notes that drew me to a woodpile where a cinnamon-colored bird stood in the late-evening sun, quivering with life and an alien language. I was totally hooked." --David J. Ringer, audubon.org

I'm hooked now, too. The day stands out in my mind: out on my walk, going up the hill, and suddenly I'm hearing the prettiest song from a bird I'd ever heard. Distinct enough from the usual birdsong of the morning to tell me there must be a new feathered friend in the neighborhood.

Startled by the tune, I looked up into the trees at the side of the road and discovered this little guy, pictured above. I'd never seen a bird like this before and was glad I had my camera along in order to capture the moment. A truly serendipitous moment. It was as if he was posing just for me.

What is uncommon to some, of course, is common to others. On my return home, I immediately sought out information, first finding out the bird's name--the Carolina Wren--and then discovering that it is the state bird of South Carolina. Obviously more common there than here in Ohio, it generally prefers warmer climates. But, as I learned, this species of bird will extend its range further north if winters there are mild--which was the case for us this year. 

And I was right to be surprised by its song. The bird's music volume far outweighs its size. This wren has even been described as the "terrier of birds"--acting and sounding like it's 5Xs bigger than it is. It also has a repertoire of dozens of different song variations. Samples: twee-dle, twee-dle, twee-dle; jul-ee, jul-ee, jul-ee; and ger-man-ee, ger-man-ee, ger-man-ee.

Fun, flighty, fascinating. A most favorite encounter for me this week...

Are sightings of the Carolina Wren common in your neck of the woods? What rare sightings of bird have you ever seen? Any fun, flighty, fascinating or favorite encounters (feathered or otherwise) in your life recently? I hope so. We certainly can all use a lift!

Bird Food for Thought:
"The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song." --John Burroughs

"There are joys which long to be ours. God sends ten thousands truths, which come about us like birds seeking inlet; but we are shut up to them, and so they bring us nothing, but sit and sing awhile upon the roof, and then fly away." --Henry Ward Beecher

"The author O. Henry taught me about the value of the unexpected. He once wrote about the noise of flowers and the smell of birds--the birds were chickens and the flowers dried sunflowers rattling against a wall." --Chuck Jones

"When we 'lose our mind' and 'come to our senses' in the fullest possible way, the chattering, texting, e-mailing, twittering mind will eventually quiet down and almost silence itself. This is a sacred and connected silence...It's like a deep, still pond reflecting the stars of the night sky. I believe this is the baseline for human consciousness, and I'm convinced that the birds are the best mentors in the natural world for bringing us to it." --Jon Young, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
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