It Started With A Song
I noticed this morning that there was a new but vaguely familiar bird singing in my backyard. I get passers-by all the time so I didn’t take any notice of it at first. Later, I noticed the bird was still singing repeatedly and loudly. He had been at it for over an hour when I decided to take a closer look and see if I could figure out what all the fuss was about.
I looked around in the trees in my backyard but couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from. Before I knew it, a little bird had landed on the hotly contested bluebird box not twenty feet from my back door. I didn’t recognize the little bird but before he had been on the house 10 seconds he started to sing the song I’d heard all morning. I got out my binocs and was able to ID him as a house wren. The song and the picture came together for me.
House Wrens Don’t Come Highly Recommended
I read in my Stokes guide and also remembered hearing other birders talking about how house wrens can be as aggressive and destructive as house sparrows. I can’t remember who it was but one birder even suggested aggressive means to rid yourself of them. I’m not one to trap and kill a bird on suspicion alone. In fact, I’ve never killed a bird to get it out of my backyard. However, having bluebirds and chickadees in my backyard, both of which are cavity nesters, I thought I’d see how serious he was about nesting there.
I grabbed my iPod loaded up with BirdJam and Stokes CDs and began playing songs back to him whenever I heard him in my yard. He took immediate exception to this but was undaunted in his task to secure the nest. He had already started pulling the other nest material out and putting in twigs. When he heard the other phantom male calls, he would fly away from the nest but returned quickly. Eventually, he only sang back and went about his business.
What Is Your Experience With Them?
I figure that I’ll empty out the box and keep an eye out for other birds looking to move in. From what I understand, the biggest threat is that once they use a box, like house sparrows, they are 10 times more terratorial about it. Since the males may set up as many as 12 nests to try to court the female, I figure the odds are low he would use this one even if I did nothing. Still, I don’t want any chickadees or blubirds to feel unwelcomed or threatened in my backyard.
Do you have any house wren stories? I would love to hear them! Leave me a comment using the form below and share them with our readers.