Friday, June 10, 2011

Carolina Wrens: Need a little help.

It has come to my attention that several members of the West Virginia birding community have experienced a reduction in their Carolina Wren populations over the past two bad winter seasons. I have not experienced any notable reductions here and I enjoy harsher winter conditions than most. I know that my local population is starting their second nesting here right now. I have only been back in this area for about ten years, but one of the first things I did upon return to the area was to hang some useless boots. I am not going to mention any manufactures names; but in my time as a turkey hunting guide in the Deep South, I received many pairs of "hunting boots". They all leak and keep you wet, unless they are made of rubber; enough said on the subject.
I have hung these wonderful boots around on the property and they get regular use as winter roost sites. I also bought a few winter roosting things; I don't remember where I got them, but they came in sets of three. One of them, the birds wouldn't use for some reason. The other fell apart as soon as it got damp. But, this one which is made of spruce needles is at least 8 years old and is used all winter. Actually; from about October on. I have seen four Carolina Wrens crowd into this nesting thing at one time. They just keep piling in; until it is full. There is at least one wren in this every night.

This last photo is some kind of a guaranteed waterproof / snake-proof "hunting boot" that leaked so bad that your feet were actually floating in water. I said that I wasn't getting into that didn't I? Anyway, this past winter; I watched seven Carolina Wrens go into this one boot, on a cold evening. This one is in my gazebo.

I do still worry about my wrens on frigid nights; when the thermometer is below 10 and the wind is fierce. I usually find myself staring at the suet; until one shows up. But they always appear; after their cozy nights spent in their roosting boots. If you want to help out your wrens this winter; just hang some boots, they will be much appreciated.

Photos by High Virginia Images

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