Bird Bio: Winter Wren

During the month of October several of our winter birds will be arriving.  One of the less common is the Winter Wren.  This is our smallest wren and can be found across the state October through April.  I have seen them most often along the Harpeth River, making their way through dense underbrush in search of food; insects and berries.  Don’t expect to see this 4” bird (Carolina wrens are 5 ½”) at your feeders, although it is possible.  I have only seen this bird at a suet feeder a few times and only during the most bitter and snowy weather. You are more likely to attract them with brushpiles.

The Winter Wren is described as a very small, round, dark wren and has a much stubbier tail than the other wrens.  It has an indistinct buffy eyebrow and a heavily barred belly.  It is a busy little bird, bobbing and flicking its wings and tends to stay near the ground. It has a beautiful, complex song, however, around hear one is more likely to hear its “yip” “yip” call.

A few good places to see a Winter Wren are the Harpeth River Greenway, Hidden Lakes Park, Gossett Tract, and Narrows of the Harpeth.

Fall slow down at feeders

This time of year many of you will notice an abrupt and sometimes dramatic slowdown at your feeders.  You may even notice some species become practically non-existent.  Bird feeders in September and October are typically very quiet. This is surprising to some but actually normal and understandable.  With the conclusion of the breeding season birds are now in less need of a quick, easy food source... your feeders.  While raising their young during the months of March through July birds expend huge amounts of energy and will take great advantage of backyard feeders.  We sell more seed and suet during those months than we do in winter. 

Now young birds are independent and the lives of adult birds are at a much more leisurely pace.  On top of that nature is producing an abundance of food at this time.  Not only are insects still plentiful but every tree, shrub, weed, and wildflower has produced seeds, nuts, and fruit.  There is literally food for birds everywhere.  It is a great example of the fact that birds do not rely on our feeders but simply take advantage of them in times of more demand for food.  So, don’t worry that you are not seeing many birds around the feeders right now.  It is totally normal. About the time we get the first frost, or two, you will begin to see a return of your favorite birds to feeders.  And you will begin to see our winter visitors, like Junco’s, White-throated sparrows, Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Kinglets, and hopefully, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

So, while the birds take a break from your feeders now would be a great time to give your feeders a thorough cleaning.  Warm soapy water, a brush, and a little effort is well worth the effort to provide a clean, healthy feeding environment for the birds. 

Disassemble your feeder if possible and soak it warm soapy water. Use brushes to clean caked on debris.

Disassemble your feeder if possible and soak it warm soapy water. Use brushes to clean caked on debris.

AND… look for an email coming soon about a FALL BIRD FEEDER & BIRD FEED SALE

New page on our website!

Just wanted to let everyone know about a new page on our website all about how to Identify birds. There is also a step by step on adjusting your diopter on you binoculars. Also for those of you looking for a printable checklist of Tennessee birds we now have a link to a printable checklist from Tennessee watchable wildlife. Thanks everyone! 

Fall Migration Notes

Fall Migration is underway and while your birdfeeders will slow down as we approach October birdwatching will only get more interesting.  Have your binoculars with you and ready because warblers are pouring through middle Tennessee stopping to feed in the early mornings on insects and berries.  Mornings are the best time to see lots of different species of warblers.  And mornings after a storm tend to be even better.  Make time to visit one of the many great local birdwatching areas this fall to see some of them.  For information about great places to birdwatch click on the links below…


More on bird migration

A recent article in Birdwatching magazine describes studies of birds that make impressive journeys during migration.  Researchers have found that the Connecticut Warbler is one of those birds.  Scientists fitted 29 male Connecticut Warblers with geolocators at their breeding sites in Manitoba, Canada.  A year later, they recaptured four of the birds and studied the data stored on their devices. The trackers provided clear evidence that the birds migrate nonstop over the Atlantic for at least 48 hours from the eastern shores of the U.S. to landing points on Cuba or Hispaniola.  They fly for 48 hrs. without rest!  That’s a total distance of 1,050 to 1,490 miles.  After a stopover of five to seven days, the warblers flew over the Caribbean Sea in a single flight, covering 375 to 500 miles, to South America.  They then continued into the Amazon basin.  Another diminutive bird but a big time traveler is the Blackpoll Warbler.  It currently is known to have the longest migration of any North American songbird.  They make a nonstop flight south over the Atlantic Ocean each fall, from New England and eastern Canada to Caribbean islands.  The marathon flight ranges from 1,410 to 1,721 miles and takes two to three days. Imagine that incredible journey.  Both these birds measure less than 6” in length.

Connecticut Warbler This is a large warbler measuring around 5.5”.  Males have a gray hood while the hood of female and juvenile birds is more of a brown. It has a yellow belly and undertail coverts. They, of course, are not feeder birds and consume primarily insects and berries. Click on the picture to learn more on the Connecticut warbler on allaboutbirds.org

Connecticut Warbler

This is a large warbler measuring around 5.5”.  Males have a gray hood while the hood of female and juvenile birds is more of a brown. It has a yellow belly and undertail coverts. They, of course, are not feeder birds and consume primarily insects and berries. Click on the picture to learn more on the Connecticut warbler on allaboutbirds.org

Blackpoll Warbler This is a large warbler measuring around 5.5”. Males are striped gray with a black cap and white cheeks. Females in breeding plumage are greenish gray above, streaked and whitish below. Click on the picture to learn more on the Blackpoll warbler on allaboutbirds.org 

Blackpoll Warbler

This is a large warbler measuring around 5.5”. Males are striped gray with a black cap and white cheeks. Females in breeding plumage are greenish gray above, streaked and whitish below. Click on the picture to learn more on the Blackpoll warbler on allaboutbirds.org 

Nikon_Binoculars.jpg

BINOCULAR SPECIAL  $10 to $40 Off All In-Stock binoculars.  Whether you need new binoculars for birding or for football games Nikon has a choice to fit your needs.  September 22 thru September 28 stop by the shop and take advantage of these deals: 

  • Monarch 7 8x42 and 10x42     $40 Off                Prostaff Compact 8x25 and 10x25 $10 Off
  • Monarch 5 8x42 and 10x42     $25 Off                Travelite Compact 8x25 and 10x25  $10 Off
  • Prostaff 7 8x30 and 10x30      $15 Off                  Trailblazer Compact 8x25  $10 Off
  • Prostaff 3 8x42 and 10x42      $10 Off                  Aculon 7x35  $10 Off

And About Hummingbirds

Hummingbird migration is definitely at, or on the back side of, its peak.  Just two weeks ago hummingbirds were consuming nearly a gallon of nectar per day at my home in Pegram.  After last week’s cool front and rain the numbers of hummingbirds at my feeders dropped to just a few.  Interestingly, the hummingbirds we are seeing are choosing the big bunches of Salvia in the garden over the feeders.  We may see Ruby-throated hummingbirds well into October so keep your feeders out with fresh nectar as there may be several waves of hummingbirds still coming through TN on their return to Central and South America. The belief that feeders should be taken down to cause the birds to migrate is incorrect.  They will leave when they are ready whether there is a feeder present or not.  

First annual hummingbird happy hour

Art by Anne Goetze. This and many others will be available during this event! 

Art by Anne Goetze. This and many others will be available during this event! 

The Wood Thrush Shop is proud to be a sponsor of this event put together by Friends of Warner Parks and The Warner park nature center. Come celebrate the first annual Hummingbird Happy Hour. Join us on Thur. Sept 14th from 6-9pm for a beautiful evening in the Warner Parks for cocktails & hors d'oeuvres, hummingbird viewings, a Bird art/photography exhibit by Nathan Collie & Anne Goetze and live music on the patio by local well-known Jazz duet Annie Sellick & Pat Bergeson. Ticket and art sales will support the Bird Information, Research and Data (B.I.R.D) programs, keeping these programs free and available for schools, families and Park visitors.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS!