A few years ago I bought a bird house at the Antique Rose Emporium in San Antonio. I hoped it would attract Bewick's Wrens. I knew it fit BW specs because I saw two Bewick's Wrens building competing nests in houses nailed back-to-back on a post. One wren would fly into the house on the left with nest material and fly away for more. The other wren would then pop into the house on the left, emerge with a beak of material and disappear into the house on the right.
We'd never seen a Bewick's Wren until we moved to the Hill Country. The species is declining in the Eastern U.S.; loss of habitat mostly, combined with widespread pesticide use. We don't poison our gardens (OK, we do poison fire ants if they build mounds in my raised beds). For everything else, we hope the compost and good bugs and birds balance out the bad bugs. The wrens are doing their part.
We put our new birdhouse up in the woods and waited. A pair of Summer Tanagers plucked the decorative moss from the house to line their nest somewhere in the thicket. No wren interest.
This year Denny moved it to the back porch and we saw wrens. Not enough to call it occupied, more like a second home.
Until July 10th, when we saw two little heads peeking from the house.
Momma and Daddy perched nearby chirping encouragement.
When that didn't work, they flew into the garden and came back with food.
The first step is scary.
And first flight uncertain.
Ernest and I watched it all.
Until Momma and Daddy and little ones were launched into the trees for the first lesson in life beyond the nest.
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.