Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)

 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.


  1. I recently had a similar experience with Carolina Wrens that nested in a hanging basket outside my den window. It's a magic moment when the babies take that first flight.

  2. We have a wren house, that we've had for years. This is the first year there has been a resisdent.
    I thought we had Carolina Wrens. But, they look just like the ones in your picutures.
    They're cute. And, loud. Lots of noise, from that little body.

  3. How wonderful. We had a pair of Carolina Wrens build a nest in a most inappropriate place -- a potted plant a foot off the ground on the patio. It's been knocked over twice and I'm not sure that they have been back after the second time (I know they came back after the first time because it was them that alerted me to the fact it had been knocked over again).

    I hope they choose a safer place next year. I'd love to watch the babies fledge. Perhaps we should get a wren house.

  4. Neat-O! I totally want a wren house now! I've seen a Carolina wren around and about...

  5. Remarkable set of photos. You and other birders amaze me with your ability to so keenly observe that you can tell the difference between wrens (and that the differences seem so obvious to you). Buck calls all small birds "tweets." I am somewhere in between your specificity and Buck's broad brush!

  6. What great photos, Kathleen! They are cute birds.

    You and Denny and dear Harry have been in my thoughts.

    Love you,


  7. Wonderful photos. They are a little like the house wrens that nest here every year. The wrens were here before I came to the farm twenty years ago so I dutifully put up their houses each spring and they move in and eat bugs from the garden. They can be very cheerful, singing as they go about their jobs. ON the other hand they can be irritating when Toby comes outside with me and they sit above us and hurl insults.

  8. Yes, a great sequence of photos, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing your bird observations with us. x0 N2

  9. Not something you see every day!

  10. Amazing! How neat to bear witness to that precious new beginning, and those first wobbly attempts at flight. I love the attention and care you give to all God's little critters. . . *ahem* except, possibly, to the fire-ants in your raised beds ;)

  11. Those are some amazing photos! Out here in Los Angeles, we have NO good birds. At least I don't notice any --

  12. fabulous.
    things like this never fail to amaze me.


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