Saturday, June 6, 2009

Proud papa

Every year, we have a nest full of house wrens in our yard. I like to think of them as the same devoted pair coming back every year, but this is not actually too likely. The male travels all around the perimeter of our yard, singing a pretty, warbly song at each stop he makes.

This year the male built a dummy nest in our other nest box (which we'll remove, now that we know it's not being used). The female chooses the nesting site from among the incomplete nests, and then finishes the job with soft material like moss and feathers. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab, house wrens stick a spider egg sack down in the nest box. When the spiders hatch, they eat the little mites and other parasites that can attack the baby birds. Clever!

This year there seem to be 4 chicks in the nest. They look maybe a week old aready -- eyes open, feathers developing, looking around alertly. Both parents are busy bringing food all day long. We picked a moment when both parents were out foraging to snatch a picture.

No wonder papa's so proud!

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