House Wrens: Good Neighbor/Bad Neighbor

Mrs. Wren, peeking out.

Mr. Wren delivers a spider’s egg sac to his mate.

This morning I was weeding my onions and listening to the excited chirping of the House Wren nestlings as the parents scurried back and forth carrying insects to the nest box.  The nestbox sits on one of the garden fenceposts.  I put it up, hoping for Bluebirds, but the spot hasn’t attracted them and I’ve let the House Wrens have it.  House Wrens are a mixed blessing.  Who hasn’t felt his heart lift on hearing the first joyful burble of their song when they return in the spring?  I like them in the garden because of all the insects they eat, and there’s the company.  I’m scolded if I come too close to the nestlings yet they will perch and watch me at work in the garden with what appears to be curiosity, not fear.  They have a very dark side, however, as they cannot bear to have another bird nesting within their territory.  Fortunately the territories are small.  I read that the average House Wren’s territory was no more than a circle with a diameter of 100 feet, but I watched one on a killing spree as it poked holes in the heads of four robin nestlings more than sixty feet from the nestbox (120 feet in diameter).  There are few good nest sites near my garden so I accept them for being my good neighbors and try to overlook the fact that they are very bad neighbors to other birds.

Naughty Neighbor

Naughty Neighbor

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