The South Carolina State Bird… Proud and LOUD!


Dear Reader:

The Ya’s favorite place to ” perch” at Edisto is on the front porch at Rest in Peace… followed by the back porch. It is the weather that basically dictates which… such as the temperatures, wind gusts, sometimes construction noises, and this year… one small loud-mouthed bird. The Carolina Wren.

At first we didn’t notice it as much… all the birds of every type and species were chirping and singing simultaneously. After all spring was here and in full bloom.

But as time went on… we started noticing that one bird must have been the ” leader of the pack” because it grew so loud it was actually difficult to carry on a conversation! Yet if we moved… it did too… must be female… loved listening in on all the ” news.”

Believe it was Libby who finally identified the “loud mouth” in the flock as the Carolina Wren. I remember shaking my head… surely it had to be a much larger bird than a tiny wren to make that much noise??? WRONG!

The first article I pulled …on characteristics of South Carolina’s state bird said ” A Carolina wren can sing so loudly -you almost have to shout to be heard!” ( Bingo! Libby was right!) We were yelling!

This is one time that the old adage ” Small but mighty” perfectly applies. A Carolina wren is about 5 and a half inches… weighing only as much as four nickels! So how can it produce so much sound?

The answer lies in the bird’s vocal anatomy. Unlike humans… who create sound from the larynx up to the top of our windpipes… a bird’s song originates deep within its body! Another article wrote: ” Carolina wrens are diminutive birds with ” big, loud, non-stop mouths !”

The other problem with our CLAMOROUS Carolina wren is that it has no singing time restrictions like other birds. Many birds sing early and late in the day during spring and summer. Not the Carolina wren!

It’s on its own time-table and territory … year round …and heard at any daylight hour- one Carolina Wren was recorded singing 3000 times in one day!

Whenever I think of the Carolina Wren… I immediately picture it sitting among the state flower vine… the Yellow Jessamine. Since I grew up in North Carolina… I was a ” cardinal” girl and learned South Carolina history as I went along my first year teaching eighth graders!

It was 1971 and the state department of education published a pocket-sized state fun facts on state history pamphlet… one for every teacher and student in South Carolina! It saved my teaching career. And on the front cover was a picture of the Carolina Wren and Yellow Jessamine… two of our state symbols-bird and flower!

God Wink! And who was the selected artist for the cover? Edward Von Siebold Dingle… little did I know how that historical family name would change my life forever… a year away…a new path was being prepared! One leading to Magnolia Plantation!

What a fascinating man… more to come in future posts!

Some of you might remember that ten years ago I wrote a fictitious story behind the origin of the Yellow Jessamine… and the district office published copies to send to third grade classes introducing South Carolina history to elementary students. Our state flower!

John’s mom… the amazingly talented Joan Turner, artist, created the cover for me!

It was fun… maybe I can get my creative juices going to write a story about a loud-mouth wren named ” Cookie” the Carolina Wren- who stole cookies off open window shelves … cooling from baking? … Until one day…

So until tomorrow… When people talk about a ” key” to one’s heart… I think… why should anyone need a key to unlock love… love should be open and free! No lock! No key!

Throw away the key and be free to love!

Today is my favorite day- Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to The South Carolina State Bird… Proud and LOUD!

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    You are one talented and informative lady…

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