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Birdhouse, Round Two

>> Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This spring we had one successful batch of chickadees raised in our new chickadee house (well, mostly successful, after a slight hiccup or two...)

Now, we have little house wrens nesting in there, which delights me no end.  I've never been lucky enough to have two nestings in the same box in one year, let alone of two different species.  But about 3 days after the chickadees fledged, the wrens started customizing the box for their own purposes.

First, they emptied all things chickadee out of it.

Chickadees are cavity nesters, and so they built a little mossy nest right at the bottom of the box.  The wrens apparently are either smarter or dumber about such things - they filled up the entire box with sticks and twigs, nearly to the top.  It took them more than a week.  That means they don't actually have to go into the box to feed the kids; they just fly up to the hole and lean in, drop the bug, and fly off again.

The parental team, hard at work:

I suspect filling up the birdhouse with that much stuff also means the kids are a little more vulnerable to predators.  For me, the best part is that I don't need to do anything other than go up to the opening and make kissy noises, and all those little naked heads pop up, beaks gaping, cheeping madly for my viewing and listening pleasure.

Unfortunately, wrens are more persnickety about nest disturbance than chickadees.  The chickadees are so tame that little bothers them, and they would let me peer in a zillion times a day.  The wrens, on the other hand, get their figurative panties in a twist if I even set a toenail anywhere in the back yard, so I've spent a lot less time looking at the babies.  When we had wrens nesting at our old house they didn't hesitate to dive bomb us (or the dog, or the cat), but thankfully these two birds haven't resorted to aerial assaults yet - they just swear at us a lot.

They move darn fast and are so shy that they've been hard to photograph, but my husband spent some patient and noisy time in the yard with the camera on Monday.  I do like these two shots.  The first is one of them yelling at us.  They do that a lot.

The second is one of them with a bug that's nearly as big as the bird.  They do that a lot, too.  It amazes me what those little bitty things can snatch up.

Mmmm.  Feisty, wriggling, crunchy dinner.


Woodswalker July 6, 2010 at 8:13 PM  

What wonderful photos! I am so jealous. We have a wren house, but it has yet to be used by any bird. I have never heard wrens singing in my neighborhood, either. Maybe someday.

barefootheart July 8, 2010 at 9:07 AM  

Wow, great success with your bird house! I always had wrens in my birdhouses at my former home, but have yet to see any around here, and miss them. Thanks for sharing the great photos of your new family.

reneĆ© July 8, 2010 at 1:28 PM  

this is ironic because one of our birdhouses was occupied in the spring by a chickadee family, then taken over by house wrens. i was worried that the chickadees were "kicked out". they might be tiny, but those wrens are bossy!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire July 8, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

Thanks for the comments, all.

And wow, ReneƩ, I can't think of any better description of wrens. They ARE bossy!

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