Monday, August 04, 2008

House Wren

I've been following the progress of our house wren family. Interesting creatures, those.

I put up two bluebird houses on the cast iron trellis. One facing north, the other south. My brother has tons of bluebirds and he lives about 15 minutes east of here so I thought I might entice them to come if I put up some prefabricated housing for them.

First the swallows came to take a tour of the properties. They checked things out but determined that neither dwelling was suitable for their needs.

Then the wrens showed up. They are aggressive little buggers, about half the size of a sparrow with twice the attitude. They began constructing two nests, one in each house. I couldn't figure it out. There didn't seem to be that many birds but there were two nests. What the fuck?

According to one of the bird books we have, the male constructs two nests. [I know it's misogynistic, but the female would perch on the trellis and nag squawk instructions to the male as he was building.] I'll give him credit, he worked hard from sun up to sun down for days. It was funny to watch him try to get large twigs in the small hole. His little brain worked overtime and he always succeeded!

Then the female chooses which nest she likes to raise the family and the other acts as a decoy. She chose the north facing house. I wonder if, after all that effort, she chose the nest because it was facing north rather than because it was particularly better constructed. If the male had known, he could have slacked off on the south facing nest. Totally something I would do!

The eggs were laid and hatched about a week later. Then the feeding began. The parents didn't eat, digest, and regurgitate the food. They fed them "whole food" like moths, grubs, spiders, etc. They are pretty good hunters since they would bring something back about every 15 minutes. The male and female both fed the nestlings.

I started this post several weeks ago. I wanted to tell a complete story with photos and all. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get pics of the babies. I opened up the side of the bird house but I could never see them! They were down inside the nest hiding and I couldn't see them even when I was right up against the house on a chair looking down inside.

You'll have to use your imagination that they were there. I know they were because I'd hear them chirping when they were being fed. I didn't even get to see them take their first fledgling flight.

They've been gone a couple of days now. I'll be taking the houses down, emptying the nests, coating the outsides with polyurethane weatherproofing, and putting them away for next year.


Romach said...

Ahhh how sweet. We had doves and black birds nesting and now we have a tiny little sparrow nesting also.

"MoodyBlue" Jodi said...

How cool are those pictures?!?! That is so nice you put those out there for them. The male really did do alot of work seeing the inside pics of the nest. The ones with the head peeking out are adorable!

rodger said...

Great photo essay Gavin. We have bird houses all around the house and not one bird ever nests in them. They seem to prefer the trees, shrubs and lawn.