Monday, June 29, 2009

Behold The Mighty House Wren

One of the drawbacks of devoting much of the weekend to birding is that you tend to fall behind on certain yardwork. There are a couple of chores in particular that I find especially disagreeable. The first is cleaning my gutters. They get filled up with those little twirly-bird maple seeds that, when saturated in stagnant rain water, makes a particularly nasty organic soup. Another is removing the strangling weeds that wrap their evil vines around the hedges. No matter how cautious I am in approaching this task, I always end up getting a a Poison Ivy rash. It's probably just me. I'm sure for some people this type of yardwork would be their idea of a good time.

This weekend I finally managed to complete these dreaded tasks. As I was working, I noticed the House Wrens were also busy working, singing and gathering food. Somehow, I felt comforted by the fact that I wasn't the only one who had responsibilities to take care of.

These little House Wrens start singing before daybreak and don't stop until after dark. I enjoyed watching them try to fit oversized sticks through the hole in the nestbox. It took them a while to get the hang of it. They are also known to be very aggressive to other birds that try to nest near their territory. They don't have much competition in our yard so that's not really a problem. I found it interesting to read that they add spider eggs to their nests. When the spiders hatch they eat the parasites in the nest and the wrens have an added food source to snack on.

Afterwards, I sat in the shade to watch the birds, butterflies and insects that visited the gardens.

I keep very small gardens so they are easier to maintain. Wrens are supposedly good to have around gardens as they eat some of the insects that might otherwise be damaging to plants. So far, I've sampled some red leaf lettuce and basil. Pretty soon the yellow squash will be ready.
I'm always hearing people talk about honeybees and how important they are. What about bumblebees?

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For the last couple of years there hasn't been many honeybees in our yard (which is kind of concerning). It's the bumblebees that have been doing most of the pollinating.

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Behold the mighty House Wren
as it flies from tree to tree
with a bold and bubbly song
that cries out "Look at me"!

Finding spiders in the hedges
and ants beneath the brier
the skill with which it gathers food
is something to admire

He perched upon the nestbox
then sneakily flew in
checking briefly on his family
then its off to work again


Kim said...

Love the video Larry!! I too have noticed that I don't have as many honey bees. I planted a lot of lavender and other herbs in my yard that I know will attract bees but all I am getting are the bumble bees too.

I have given up on yard work this year. I figure I can do some of it in July when the bird activity calms down. ;o)

Chris said...

Hi Larry,
The video is gorgeous... Yeh you sometime have to do maintenance work in your garden, unless if you live in Iceland, cause not so many plants survive there!!

Jayne said...

Love your little wrens Larry. :c) That is a perfect little garden too.

Chris Petrak said...

Even though the wrens drive out other cavity nesters, I love them and their incessant singing and scolding of everything and anything. Where does the poem come from?

Larry said...

Kallen-I think I must have planted lavender too-it sure smells like it and it's attracting plentuy of bees.

Chris-Thanks-I thought Greenland was the cold place and Iceland had a nice climate.

Jayne-Thanks-I prefer a small garden-much easier.

Chris-Thanks-the poem comes from my field notebook.

Unknown said...

Love the wren! Glad they protect your garden. i tend to use anise and dill to attract wasps of various sizes to deal with my insect problems, they seem to work well/
As to bumble bees, they were here first, honey bees are imports and they have an incredible role to play. I keep up on Insects by a subscription to Wings (by the Xerces Society).

Larry said...

It's a good thing that honeybees aren't a species of bird or people would be out to exterminate them since they're not native.-interesting to know that-thanks.

Dawn Fine said...

Ah ha..Now I see what u mean about bee-havior ..
Cool! You know how I love the videos!
Love your little wren!
Nice looking garden too!

Check out my link for the CT outing..

should be a blast!

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, did you write that poem? I love it! I'm glad you have house wrens in your yard. I looked for some while I was in CT but to no avail. This one stayed off my list this year. I quess I should have come to your house!

Larry said...

Dawn-Sounds good-I'll have to do a little shorebirding this weekend so I can practice on my shorebird Id'ing skills which are minimal but looking forward to it.

Kathiebirds-Thanks-Yes I did Kathie-I just wanted something to fit my video.-Next time you're in CT you'll know where to find a House Wren-

Kathie Brown said...

Larry, once again, I love your poem! Perhaps next year when I come we can finally meet! Have you been to Cohen Woodlands yet? I was there for the first time this year. I just posted about it on my blog. I bet you would love it.

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-I read your post on it since then-looks like a nice spot.-Send me an e-mail when your coming out.We can meet up to do some birding.