Winter Wrens look an awful lot like Carolina Wrens. Both are cute, little brown puffy feather balls. The main difference is that you are more likely to see the Carolina Wrens. There are a few reasons why. First, Carolina Wrens are year-round birds around Western Mass where Winter Wrens tend to be here mostly in the winter. Secondly, the Carolina Wrens will come to your feeders. Thirdly, while both birds will alert you to their presence with their beautiful and LOUD songs, the Carolina’s song is widely recognized. You can read all about them in my blog dedicated to them.) As for the Winter Wrens, they are small, and puffy and with brown feathers with small white patches along the edges of wings that form 2 lines. They have a smaller, straighter beak than the Carolina Wrens do and tan areas on their throat and bellies. They also have a cream-colored line over their eyes that is much less noticeable than the Carolina’s white eye line. They have a short, stubby tail that stands upright also!
Winter Wrens have a similar diet. They like to insects of all kinds and will even reach into water for small creatures. I cannot say if they would eat meal worms and suet as I have never had one visit my feeder. They will eat berries occasionally when they are available. As I mentioned, they (the males) have a loud song that carries far for such a little bird! You will have to visit eBird to hear that. I only have some chirping calls on audio so far but will add more as I find them in my collection or meet some new wrens! The link below is an audio from Fannie Stebbins in Longmeadow from December 5th.
Winter Wrens that I have encountered have mostly been in shrubbery near water. I have also heard them in some tall evergreen trees in a yard in Wilbraham. They will typically raise 1 or 2 sets of babies between April and July. Males will build several little nests inside dead wood or tree cavities mostly. Then, the female will choose one. They make a mound of material and cover it with feathers. They will lay 4-7 white eggs with reddish-brown speckles each time. It is unlikely that you would see these babies as they do not generally breed in Western Mass. The good news is that the Winter Wrens population is in good shape overall. Read about the Carolina Wrens and watch for my blog on our local House Wrens coming soon!