SHED WITH BUSHEL-BASKET HANGING
This spring I went to take my work bushel-basket off my shed porch wall and as I lifted it down I noticed some extra weight to it plus some odd twigs peeking by the edge. Oh --- maybe I have a new tenant? I looked into the basket and there was a beautiful Carolina Wren’s nest.
The nest was empty but freshly made as the lichens used in its construction were as fresh as a dinner salad. The lichens were mixed mainly with pieces of weeds, old leaf litter, and tiny twigs making a great nest for a new beginning.
One thing was a bit odd about the nest. It had a landing pad leading up to the nest -- one obviously built by the wrens. The pad was made of the same materials as the nest. I had read someplace that sometimes Carolina Wren nests have landing pads. I don’t really have an answer as to why this is so.
CAROLINA WREN NEST IN BUSHEL-BASKET
Yet, the nest did not have any eggs nor young birds. Apparently the nest was just short of completion. My guess was that the mother wren was in the process of lining the depression in the inside of the domed shaped nest. Although the male and female both construct the nest, it is the female that puts the finishing touch on the lining.
I decided, after I hung the basket back on its hook, to leave it there until I was completely sure the wrens had raised their family and were fledged.
At this point I had two concerns: one, I had scheduled a workman to work on the shed (saws, hammers, noise) and two, the neighbor cats that are constantly checking my field for rodents. I solved both problems by canceling the workman until all was clear and leaving my dogs outside for a good part of the day (cats are scared of Lil and Sal).
PHOTO BY KEN THOMAS -- WIKI
While in the yard working or relaxing, I occasionally observed the comings and goings of the wrens to their nest. Basically there seemed three phases. The first was a time of low activity. I figured this was the time of finishing off of the nest. The second period was fairly active. My thoughts were that the female was nesting on the eggs and the male was bringing her food. The last and third phase was a very active time when I figured there were many mouths to feed.
During all these three stages I had such glorious Carolina wren songs performed near my house, from sun-up to sundown. The repertoire was multiple. The male is the songster and he would sit on my porch railing and really belt them out with his head raised up like a dog howling to the moon.
Now the young wrens have left to other places. I miss the male "operettas" on my porch railings. I hear the wrens farther back in my woods and occasionally near the house. I never did see the fledglings – but my daughter
Carolina Wrens are found in the eastern part of the
For a great ID guide on bird nests I recommend the book titled Eastern Birds' Nests.