House Wrens are smaller, darker brown, and shorter tailed than Carolina Wrens, lacking the white chest and eyebrow stripe. The House Wren’s song is very complex, bubbly, and chattering, whereas the Carolina Wren sings a sweet, rolling tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle with many variations on that two or three-noted theme. They also have shorter tails. Bewick’s Wrens are a grayer, longer-tailed western counterpart of the Carolina Wren. Where they overlap in the central U.S., look for the more subdued coloration of Bewick’s Wren compared with the warm buffy or reddish-brown of the Carolina Wren.
The Florida population of Carolina Wrens is larger and stouter, a darker rusty chestnut above and more deeply colored below.
Carolina Wrens visit suet-filled feeders during winter. During cold northern winters, they will take shelter in nest boxes containing dried grasses, particularly boxes with slots rather than holes.
During breeding season, these wrens may nest in boxes, but they're just as likely to choose a hanging fern or an empty flowerpot tucked away in a quiet corner of an overgrown back yard. Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.
Keeping a brush pile in your yard is a great way of encouraging wrens to take up residence (read more about offering shelter to backyard birds here).
Find This Bird
Listen for the male's loud, piercing teakettle-teakettle song emanating from woody or thickly vegetated areas within the wren's range.