Opinion

BIRDWATCH: Carolina Wren first rare bird sighting of 2015

Ken Hooles

By Ken Hooles, Daily Observer

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren

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The first rare bird for 2015 was sighted by Neil Melanson of D'Arcy Street. On Jan. 30, Neil reported a Carolina Wren in his area. This part of Pembroke seems to be a good area to find these birds in the winter, if they are around. In 2007, one of these birds was spotted on Moffat Street, and in 2008, two Carolina Wrens were spotted on the cliffs across from Pansy Patch Park.

The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is from the Southeast United States. It is a bird that likes to frequent deciduous woodlots, farms, or suburbs. It is an energetic, loud, common bird of the Southern Carolinian forests. It is normally a territorial bird, but in some mild winters, it has been known to occasionally expand its territory into Ontario.

This wren is the largest wren in North America. It is a warm, reddish-brown colour above and a buff white colour below. It has a conspicuous white eyebrow stripe. It can also be recognized by its distinctive high-pitched call.

These birds are often seen in pairs. They are usually hidden in undergrowth, but will emerge to check out squeaking or unusual noises. Occasionally, they also like to perch on a low branch and sing.

The Carolina Wren likes to eat mostly insects, larvae, insect eggs, snails, berries and some fruit. It can adapt to seeds, but not for long periods.

This Wren is monogamous and is a solitary nester. It usually has two broods per year, but those birds located in the South sometimes have a third brood. This bird builds its nest in a tree cavity, a stump, or old woodpecker holes, rafters, mailboxes and birdhouses. The nest is made of stems, leaves, grasses, bark pieces, mosses, feathers, and sometimes, snake skins.

The female incubates the eggs of the Carolina Wren for 12 to 14 days. The young remain in the nest for another 12 to 14 days and are fed by both sexes. Towards the end of the 12 to 14 day period, the male takes over the feeding while the female starts the next clutch.

The Carolina Wren is primarily a resident of the Eastern United States and Eastern Mexico. However, during mild weather years, this bird has extended its range into our province and has also made appearances in Petawawa and Deep River. It is a very interesting bird to observe!

Elsewhere on the local scene, the bird activity continues to be mainly at our feeders. In addition to our regular winter birds, I am receiving reports of flocks of Evening Grosbeaks, Common Redpoll, Snow Buntings, American Goldfinch and most recently, large flocks of Bohemian Waxwings. There are also several sightings of Wild Turkey. Believe it or not our first spring migrant, the Horned Larks, should be arriving in the next two weeks. These will be noticeable along some of the gravel roads in the county.

The Northern Owls appear to be quite scarce this year with the exception of Snowy Owls. So far, we have had only one report of a Great Gray Owl and no reports of Northern Hawk Owsl or Boreal Owls. Expect to see and hear more Barred Owls as February and March is the breeding time for these Owls

On Jan. 30, Gary Moore of Laurentian Drive observed a Sharp-shinned Hawk capture and eat a Mourning Dove. This must have been quite exciting to observe. The Sharp-shinned Hawk is an efficient hunter!

Finally, on Feb. 1, Rob Cunningham of Barron Canyon Road informed me that he has a flock of Evening Grosbeaks making an appearance daily at his bird feeder. Similarly Myron Loback of Sandy Beach area also has a flock of Evening Grosbeaks coming to his bird feeder.Please call me with your bird sightings at 613-735-4430, or email me at hooles@bell.net. For more information on upcoming nature events and other links to nature, I refer you to the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists' website at www.pafn.on.ca.


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