Floridian Nature

Learn about Florida's beautiful and unique nature.





Florida Birds: Wrens and Swift
small carolina wren in the snowCarolina Wren- The Carolina wren is an adaptable dweller of forestlands, swamps, farms, and tree-filled human communities. The state bird of  South Carolina, Carolina wrens are medium sized wrens with dark brown upperparts and buff underparts. Eyebrows are vivid white. The Carolina wren's throat is white and it's bill is long and decurved. Wings and tail are dark barred with white flecks. Both sexes of the Carolina wren are similar. The Carolina Wren uses the skin of snakes, hair, feathers and many other materials to build their dome-shaped nests. Singing one of the loudest songs per volume of bird, the Carolina Wren's "tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle" is familiar across the Southeast. Unlike other wren species in its genus, only the male Carolina Wren sings the loud song. It is a common bird in urban areas, and is more likely to nest in a hanging plant than in a birdhouse. A pair bond may form between a male and a female Carolina wren at any time of the year, and the pair will stay together for life. Members of a pair stay together on their territory year-round, and forage and move around the territory together.

sedge wren on a perchSedge Wren- The Sedge Wren is a tiny, secretive wren of grassy marshes. This wren is Buff-colored, with finely streaked crown and back. The sedge wren has pale brown eyebrows, a short barred tail,, short bill and the legs and feet are pink. One of the most nomadic territorial birds. In any area it may be abundant one year, absent the next. Best distinguished by voice and habitat, the sedge wren is most often seen as it is flushed from grass and flies off, only to drop from view a few feet away. Sedge wrens have a distinctive flight, their wings vibrate stiffly as the bird seems to float over the ground. This wren nests in dense tall sedges and grasses in wet meadows, hayfields, and marshes. Like other wrens, it builds "dummy" nests, often hidden in dense marsh grass. The sedge wren is also known as the Short-billed Marsh Wren and the Grass Wren. There are about 20 different subspecies which are found across most of the Americas. Some of these forms may be separate species. A group of wrens has many collective nouns, including a "chime", "flight", "flock", and "herd" of wrens.


house wren in FloridaHouse Wren- The house wren often nests in odd places such as mailboxes, flowerpots, and even the pockets of coats on clotheslines. When competing for a nest site, the House Wren may throw out the nest, eggs, and even the young of other hole-breeding birds. In the process this bird may kill its competitors, or if they are more powerful, it harasses them by filling the hole with its own nest material. If House Wrens return in spring to find an old nest still in place, they usually remove it stick by stick, then proceed to rebuild, often using the very material they've just discarded. Outside the breeding season, House Wrens are shy and much less in evidence than when they are singing during the breeding season. The house wren is a tiny bird with a short tail, often held cocked over the back. This wren is dusky brown above, paler below, and has no distinctive markings. House wrens are usually 11 to 13 cm long and weigh 10 to 12 g. Males and females are identical in coloration, but males are slightly larger in some traits. House wrens breed between late April and early September, with the majority of clutches started in mid-late May. The males are the first to return from migration and establish territory for nesting within a few hours/days of arrival. The females return in time to complete the nest after choosing a male.

elusive chimney swift birdChimney Swift- A "flying cigar," the Chimney Swift is rarely seen perched. Its high-pitched twittering is a familiar sound during summertime in the city as it flies high above, catching small flying insects. Unable to perch or stand upright as songbirds do, chimney swifts are uniquely equipped to roost clinging to vertical surfaces. Their small but strong feet are tipped with four sharp claws which act as grappling hooks to hold them firmly to their roost. Their tail feather shafts extend as stiff exposed spines to provide additional support for their vertical lifestyle. Swifts are among the most aerial of birds, flying almost constantly except when at the nest or roosting at night. The Chimney Swift bathes in flight, gliding down to water, smacking the surface with its breast, then bouncing up and shaking the water from its plumage as it flies away. All swallows have longer tails, usually with a notch or fork, and broader wings. Black Swift and White-throated Swift have forked tails and different patterning below.
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