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A Tough Act To Follow

Carolina Wrens (Thryothorus ludovicianus) come to stay in our garden every winter.  They mostly stay in one of the woodpiles and come to the feeders or search the woodpiles on the patio and all the nooks and crannies of the patio roof for food.  They have no fear of us and allowed us to get close enough.  Our relationship is a symbiotic one: we provide food and shelter and they get rid of the insects for us.  By mid-spring, when food is abundant, they go back into the nearby forest area and the House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) will take over the territory.

A couple of  nights ago I found a Carolina Wren in a strange pose at one corner of the patio where the beam connected to the upright post.  Looking from afar, I thought it was a dry leave stuck there but I realized that it was a small bird when I looked closer.  An injured bird, maybe?  The feathers on the back were flattened out.  The tail was also flattened to the wooden beam.  The head buried between the body and the wood beam.  When I got up on a chair and looked closely, the bird turned around, looked at me and then flew off into the night garden.  We thought it was very strange.  We assumed that it had possibly just escaped from a predator.

But it came back almost every night, at the exact spot, and did the same flattened out with the back feathers act.  It was gone in the morning.  It’s a strange behavior that we haven’t seen before but maybe this is how the Carolina Wrens roost at night.

It’s up there tonight again.  The display with the feathers makes it look injured although it isn’t.  Perhaps that’s how they flatten themselves against tree trunks at night trying to look like just another chunk of tree bark.

A Carolina Wren in the garden last winter

A Carolina Wren in the garden last winter

This is what it's been doing night after night, at the samr exact spot

This is what it’s been doing night after night, at the same exact spot