The Sedge Wren Marsh along Wylie Road on the Carden Alvar is one of
the most dependable locations in Ontario to hear and see the scarce
and elusive Sedge Wren. The species is difficult to find except when
singing so knowing its song and habitat are the keys to seeing this
tiny secretive wren.
STATUS: Sedge Wrens
have been present almost every year at the Sedge Wren Marsh since I
first birded there in 1990. Most years there are two or three
nesting pairs. They arrive in mid-May and sing persistently well
into August. Most are probably gone by October.
SONG: A rapid dry
chip, chip, chapper chapper chapper begins slowly, speeds up and
ends abruptly. The song is repeated at short intervals from a tuft
of grass or low shrub. The Sedge Wren sings throughout the day and
often at night. Scan in the direction of the wren’s song, watching
for movement when it sings. It sings well into August. Call note is
a single chip or doubled like the first notes of the song.
HABITS: Sedge Wrens
stay low and sing from tufts of grass or low shrubs usually half or
mostly hidden; sometimes they sing from a dead branch. They take
short flights before diving back into the grasses.
differences help to distinguish Sedge and Marsh Wrens. Sedge Wrens
prefer wet to moist sedge marshes and damp grassy meadows with
scattered low shrubs such as willows and alders. Marsh Wrens inhabit
deeper and wetter cattail marshes. The two species rarely occur
together. The place to hear and see Marsh Wrens in Carden is the
Prospect Road Marsh.
Sedge Wren has a faint eyebrow stripe (supercilium) compared to the
Marsh Wren’s well-defined white supercilium. Sedge also has a finely
streaked crown whereas Marsh Wren has a blackish unstreaked crown.
Both species have streaked backs. Sedge and Marsh Wrens are best
distinguished by their different songs and habitats.
Sedge Wrens occur sometimes in the drier outer grassy edges of the
Prospect Road Marsh. In 2005 which was an exceptionally wet year,
Sedge Wrens were found in meadows along Wylie Road south of the
cabin. Marsh Wrens occur very rarely in the southwest corner of the
Sedge Wren Marsh which has a small amount of cattails.
thank Michel Gosselin for proofing and Jean Iron for photos.