Monday, January 17, 2011

Carolina Wren - 1, Starlings - 0

In the winter, our little Carolina Wren loves to eat freeze-dried mealworms. She will pass up everything else just to get to those crunchy little treats. Unfortunately, since the ground is now frozen solid and covered in snow, our massive starling flocks (from the local night-time roost) have started showing up at the feeders. While the ground was soft, they were content to dig grubs and other invertebrates out of the earth and pass our feeders by, but now that the ground is frozen solid, the crunchy, protein-rich dried mealworms must be the next best thing to live grubs. Mealworms are the larval (or grub) stage of a beetle, so it only makes sense. When a daytime flock swoops in, the mealworms can disappear in minutes, and then our sweet little Carolina Wren is not happy...

"I'm not happy. Where are my well-deserved crunchy freeze-dried mealworms?"

"I've looked left...and I've looked right...but nary an amber-colored crunchy is to be seen!"

"...look harder little wren! I hid them to keep them safe for you..."

"...what's in here?"

"Mealworms! Hundreds of them, I tell you!"


"Now that's more like it!"

So far, the starlings have left the wicker birdhouse alone, and only the Carolina Wren has been brave enough to peer in and find what she was looking for. The birdhouse is only about 4 feet from the kitchen door, so that might be discouraging some of the birds. Our Carolina Wren, however, is never afraid! I'll let you know if this system continues to work...


33 comments:

Larry said...

Awesome Kelly! That little Wren is so cute and you got fabulous photos of her. I hope those darn Starlings never find the secret hiding place. It looks like it may be too small of an opening for them anyway? I guess they could stick their heads in though huh?

Caroline said...

That little woven house is such a perfect place for that little wren - they match!

Roy said...

I can see she is not happy.{:) Brilliant photos Kelly.

Sue said...

Sometimes we have to resort to trickery-hope this works for you. Those starlings can be so obnoxious at the feeders. We're fortunate to not have them up here-but I do remember the huge flocks that used to show up at our feeders in NW Illinois. The racket-the mess-it was a nightmare.
Awesome wren photos, by the way!
:)

forestal said...

lovely close-up shots Kelly

dan

Jayne said...

What a great idea Kelly! Only a wren would scoff at it being right next to the house! :c)

Kerri said...

Great captures! I love these little wrens .... and I feed them the freeze dried ones to.

Roy said...

Great shots, Kelly! Now if there were only a way to deprive the Starlings of food entirely.

Cicero Sings said...

Good idea. Love the little feeder guy.

Birding is Fun! said...

What a cool feeder! Fantastic Carolina Wren close-ups. The do always seem to have a grumpy face don't they?

grammie g said...

Hi Kelly... when I rolled down and saw that first photo I let out a hahaha!!
Such a cute post with great photo,s!!

Laure Ferlita said...

LOVE that first photo!! Sweet little woven birdhouse. Hope the system continues to work out.

holdingmoments said...

Great idea Kelly, and such excellent pictures of your little Wren.

JKoenig said...

We have a Carolina Wren visiting here now too. I love their buttery, broen colors. Seems like most of our other visitors have black or gray feathers.

Really neat closeups!

Penelope said...

Gorgeous photos - wonderful blog. Congratulations!

Montanagirl said...

What a sweet little bird. The little wicker house was a great idea!

Appalachian Lady said...

Great shots. I've seen a wren check out our front porch this morning. There's one that has been living here all winter but this one seemed to be checking it out the birdhouses for a nest.

jkissnhug said...

Kelly, this is a wonderful idea. I have a Carolina Wren visiting my Michigan yard for the first time. The bird is foraging for insects around likely hiding places and eating suet. I would like to encourage it to stay. Thanks for posting this wonderful series of photos & information. I have a feeder for mealworms, but have used it only once.

Warren Baker said...

Ha Ha!! Thats a cool shot of 'unhappy Wren' Fortune favours the bold!!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Good for you ---taking care of those sweet little Carolina Wrens. They are always one of my favorite little birds...

Great pictures, Kelly.
Hugs,
Betsy

Hilke Breder said...

Terrific shots, Kelly! Wonderful to get that close so that you can see every little feather!

Beverly said...

Outstanding!!!

Carol Mattingly said...

Absolutely gorgeous Kelly. I give the award for the day for these images. Carol

Wanda..... said...

I need one of those woven bird houses, Kelly...perfect for the wrens....we have a pair in residence that sleep on our porch. Your photos are always the greatest!

SouthernHeart said...

You've done it again, Kelly! How in the world do you get such clear, perfect closeups?! Are you outside with the birds when you take them or do you take them from the window? I had a beautiful long line of pheasants on the front porch railing the other day and I wound up with a pitiful photo of ONE of them! *sigh* I'm jealous! ;-)

Blessings,
Dianne
www.mysouthernheart.com

Kelly said...

...thank you!! What a show this little wren puts on for us. The tiny bird house is still working. The starlings are just a bit too big for it, but it's perfect for the wren. I thought our little Chickadees might get interested in it too, but so far, just the wren. Today another Carolina Wren joined in (much to Wren #1's consternation. I heard lots of the "rattlesnake" call today as one wren would warn off the other.

I shot this fellow through the glass of my kitchen door (and the door is not crystal clean either...). My camera really pulls me through. I love it. I put the feeder/birdhouse about 4 feet from the door, so it's really close! That might be keeping the starlings out too...

Elaine said...

Fantastic series, Kelly! That first shot is such a perfect pout. Keeping these little guys around would definitely be worth a bit of effort.

Valerie said...

I love that little house! So cute.
And what great shots of the wren!

Angie said...

Oh, I LOVE this, Kelly!! Those photos are fantastic, and I love the little wicker birdhouse! It's just perfect!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what lovely photos and what a lovely little story, the woven house is adorable

The Early Birder said...

Super images of the delightful little Wren. Love the thatched birdhouse. I have House Sparrows and Greenfinches cleaning out all the feeders every day at the moment so leaving very little for the Starlings!

Steve Borichevsky said...

I have fond memories of Carolina Wrens in Tennessee. They were a God-send when I was working there and my wife was back in Colorado.

Mary said...

Wonderful! My poor wren is never very happy with my offerings....I don't offer mealworms. That was a great way to outwit the starlings. I'm having trouble with cowbirds at the moment. I guess we each get our flock of blackbirds of some sort whether we want them or not.