Mystery of Carolina Wren Continues


The mystery of our little Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) continues. It was on February 13, 2017, that I noticed the swallow nest was empty. It continued to be empty. The wren apparently vanished.

I’ve had empty nest syndrome. Every night I look for his tail sticking out of the nest. Every once in a while during the day, I could hear its call, but I never saw him.

About a week ago it was discovered that he kicked out the house sparrow in the other barn swallow nest and was sleeping in that nest. The poor sparrow has been huddled up on a small ledge from the cold.

On February 28th a grass fire came through the southern portion of Hockley County burning an estimated 9299 acres. The town of Sundown was threatened after the fire had jumped a road south of town. The fire itself brought in firefighters from several outlying towns. At one point the city manager called all residents and business phones that the south end of town was being evacuated.

After packing up and leaving, Azrael and I came back home. It was an unexpected afternoon of worrying about the fire. I was about to eat dinner when all of sudden the sound of the Carolina wren filled the backyard. I saw him come back to the nest and fitfully hunkered down for his night’s rest. He moved at least three times that I noticed in the nest.

I don’t know what brought the wren back. The fire could’ve scared him enough for him to realize that the safety of the patio nest is his best shot at remaining safe. Or he decided to become a gentleman and gave the house sparrow back her nest. The coincidence of yesterday leads me to believe it’s the former.

Whatever brought him back – I’m thankful. I’ve missed his song and I’ve missed seeing his tail sticking out of the nest. What I’ve missed most is his natural alarm clock of “teakettle, teakettle, teakettle.”

Yes – he’s back to tonight!


Photograph – © Christena Stephens Photography