WRENS, NUTHATCHES, AND MIMIC THRUSHES

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Wrens

      The Carolina Wren is the most widespread and frequently seen (and heard) wren on the refuge.  These brash permanent residents can be found in all wooded habitats, and in brushy areas along the dikes.   Listen for their teakettle teakettle song at any time of year.
       House Wrens are migrants and winter residents that are often present around woodland edges, disturbed habitats, or brushy areas along the dikes.  They are notorious skulkers, though, and can be hard to get a decent look at.  They sometimes sing their bubbly song for a week or two before they migrate in March-April.
       Marsh Wrens are probably usually present during the winter, but seldom seen. These little wrens are even more shy than House Wrens.    Like House Wrens, they often sing vigorously in the week or two before they migrate north in late March or early April; it's only then when you get a true index of their abundance.  As their name suggests, they are usually true marsh dwellers, and can often be seen and heard in cattail or sawgrass clumps in the marshes. 
      Sedge Wrens are also occasionally present in winter and spring, but based on the number of songs I hear, they are outnumbered by Marsh Wrens.  Although the two can sometimes be seen together in the marshes, I see and hear Sedge Wrens more often in the drier areas, particularly where there is a lot of broomsedge or similar grasses.  When the margins of the dikes aren't mowed, the grassy borders can be a good place to see them up close.

Nuthatches

The Brown-headed Nuthatch is the only nuthatch I've seen on the refuge, and then only on a couple of occasions.   Look, or listen for their squeaky "rubber-duck" calls, wherever there are extensive stands of pines.  Any bird climbing down a trunk head first is almost certain to be either a nuthatch or a Black-and-White Warbler. The pinewoods along the entry road are where I have seen and heard them. Tiger Bay State Forest, on US 92 between DeLand and Daytona Beach, is an excellent place to find these cute little pinewood specialists.

Mimic thrushes - named for the well-developed ability to imitate the songs of other birds.  This  vocal mimicry is most highly developed in Mockingbirds, but occurs to a lesser extent in the other species.

     Northern Mockingbirds are common permanent residents, and can be found throughout the refuge in open habitats where there is some brushy cover.  They are frequently seen along the shrubbier areas of the dikes.
   Gray Catbirds are common winter residents, and can be found in the hammock habitats, near edges, or in thick, brushy areas in the more open habitats.  They are not as conspicuous as mockingbirds, though.   Listen for the mewing call throughout the fall and winter.
                          Brown Thrashers are the least abundant of the mimids, and are also  permanent residents.  They are partial to woodland edges and brushy disturbed habitats.  Look or listen for them especially along the railroad track and its brushy borders.

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