Bird brained stories!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

House Wren 1 House Sparrow 0

With the slowing of the migration, I've been forced lately to face the state of my own nest. No clean socks, weedy flower beds, endless piles of ironing. What does all this mean? No birding for me this weekend?

Maybe, maybe not. It's a beautiful day out there, and the laundry can be hung on the line. Only problem with that? The House Wren.

House Wren, you say? Why would that be a problem? I have never had the honor of sharing living space with these feisty little birds before, and I find it endlessly fascinating. I've been hearing one sing, and sing, and sing, and....for about two weeks. I knew it was in a corner where the four lots touch, but never could spot it. Our corner has a stand of evergreens and shrubby stuff, great habitat, but hard to see anything.

Well, a friend told me you could play a House Wren call and they'd come right out, they're so territorial. Last weekend, I brought my wireless laptop out into the yard, went to the Cornell site and played that call. No sooner had it finished playing than this little brown dynamo came right out and perched in front of me! I watched its retreat, and discovered the neighbors had put up a little birdhouse. That's his spot. If today is any indication, it will remain his spot, too.

I'd taken out a second load of laundry to clip on the line, when I heard a major ruckus from the vicinity of Wren-ville. It took a moment to realize that much of that nasty scolding was actually the wren. Dropping my clothespins and grabbing my binocs, I moved into the evergreens, discovering two House Wrens, very agitated. A step or two closer revealed the problem. A pair of evil House Sparrows were checking out the real estate.

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This is one feisty little House Wren!

The sparrows weren't dissuaded immediately, but those two wrens made it unequivocally clear this was their crib! They would position themselves, one on either side, scolding, then attacking, running the sparrows into the nearby lilacs. This little drama was replayed several times until the beleaugered couple finally moved on. I haven't heard anything more since then other than wrensong and occasional peeps emanating from that little birdhouse. I will have to keep a closer eye on it, not only to chase off sparrows, but perhaps to enjoy the maiden flight of the little ones.

I have had House Wrens, Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and evidence last night suggests Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, nesting nearby, along with the usual Robins, Chipping Sparrows and Grackles. Not bad for a small town lot and a day spent doing chores!

7 Comments:

  • I once had a house wren make a nest in my clothes pin bag...that was it for hanging the clothes out for a while.

    By Blogger Jimmy, at 10:39 PM  

  • Cheers for the wrens, they must be good to see off House Sparrows. The latter forced me to give up on having a nesting pox for Striated Pardalotes, the pardies just couldn't compete.

    By Blogger Duncan, at 11:12 PM  

  • Hummingbird nest?! Did I hear someone say hummingbird nest?!!! Oh, I hope you have hummingbirds nesting in your yard!

    Congratulations on the house wren neighbors. I'm looking forward to more stories and pictures!

    By Blogger Amy, at 12:04 AM  

  • How did I manage to hit p instead of b!? Anyway, a pox on the sparrows.

    By Blogger Duncan, at 2:59 AM  

  • What a great story!!!
    We have a Carolina Wren nesting nearby. I love having the winged neighbors!

    By Blogger Endment, at 6:40 AM  

  • Actually, wrens are parasitic, which means they commonly lay their eggs in other birds nests. It is more likely that the wrens were kicking the sparrows off their own territory.

    By Anonymous Katie, at 3:03 PM  

  • We just had an war between our house wrens and a sparrow. The sparrow was trying to get in the bird house (too small for it) but managed just to get his head in while the wrens dived at him from behind. It would have been funny except that the sparrow managed to peck at the poor babies. The wrens tried their darnest to get the sparrow out but was no match. We chased off the sparrow as much as possible but two babies were victims. Luckily the other ones seemed to be okay, and we haven't seen the evil sparrow since.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:36 PM  

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