South Carolina State Bird
Adoption of the South Carolina State Bird
Interest in adoption of birds as representative of a state was often initiated by state branches of the Federated Women's Clubs in the early 1930s. In 1930, the South Carolina Federated Women's Clubs, led by Miss Claudia Phelps, adopted the Carolina wren as their state bird over the popular Carolina dove (Eastern mourning dove). Though not an official state bird at the time, the Carolina wren was generally considered a suitable representative of the State of South Carolina, at least until a proper official bird could be designated. The Carolina wren served as an unofficial state bird of South Carolina until 1939.
Oftentimes, state legislatures were moved by organizations, such as the Women's Clubs, to adopt the birds they suggested as official state birds. The South Carolina Legislature did not follow suite and, in 1939, approved the mockingbird as South Carolina's official state bird.
In 1948, the South Carolina Legislature again addressed the issue of a state bird by first repealing, or canceling, the 1939 act that declared the mockingbird the official state bird and then approving an act designating the Carolina wren the official state bird. The Carolina wren was back, representing South Carolina, this time as the official state bird.
About the South Carolina State Bird
Carolina wrens are common in forest types with thick underbrush throughout the eastern United States. The number in northern populations fluctuates widely depending on the harshness of winter conditions.
Carolina wrens are quite universal in their choice of nesting sites. These wrens prefer nesting sites that are fairly well enclosed, but they are not totally dependent upon cavities. They are well adapted to habitat conditions provided by man, but also nest in the woods where they prefer tangles and brushy undergrowth. Nests have been found in natural cavities, mailboxes, newspaper cylinders, old hornet nests, and bird houses (Laskey 1948, Nice and Thomas 1948).
Animal food, mostly insects, makes up 93 percent of the Carolina wren's diet. Of this, beetles, caterpillars, and moths comprise the largest portion. The 7 percent vegetable material is mostly seeds taken in the winter. Since the Carolina wren feeds mostly on or near the ground, deep snow is detrimental to survival. They will visit feeding stations if placed near brush piles (Bent 1948).
The South Carolina Code of Laws
The following information is excerpted from the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 1, Chapter 1, Article 9, Section 1-1-630.
Title 1 - Administration of the Government.
The Carolina Wren is the official bird of the State.
Thryothorus ludovicianus (Carolina Wren): University of Michigan Museum of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web.
This Week at Hilton Pond - Carolina Wren: South Carolina's State Bird: Article from the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, York, South Carolina. Get to know the Carolina Wren.
State Bird List: List of all of the state birds.
South Carolina Bird Watching: A Year-Round Guide: by Bill Thompson, III and the staff of Bird Watchers Digest.
A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America: Peterson Field Guide: Roger Tory Peterson.
State Birds & Flowers 1000-pc Puzzle: Created at the request of The National Wildlife Federation this design is a beautiful and informative puzzle featuring every state bird perched on the appropriate state flower.
Bird Feeders and Accessories: Backyard Birding > Bird Feeders & Accessories from Amazon.com.
State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories, Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)
Source: South Carolina Code of Laws, (http://www.scstatehouse.net/code/statmast.htm), April 13, 2005
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