At last – it can be shared

(** Warning – what follows was only observed and recorded because it was possible to do so without the birds being aware that they were being watched. We are only sharing it now that the birds have fledged and departed and there is no risk to them by people getting too close. If you are ever fortunate enough to happen upon an active nest and are in any doubt at all please observe from a distance using binoculars or a long camera lens and do so only for a very short time. We were lucky that the stars aligned. Thank you.)

Hanging on the wall of our sheltered porch just to one side of the front door is a large ceramic plant pot specially made for such situations. Fifteen years ago it was the location of a Carolina Wren nest and successfully produced two or three young. Since then nothing … until this year.

On the 16 April (J’s birthday as it happens) we were getting the groceries out of the car when we heard and then saw a Carolina Wren standing on the lip of the ceramic pot glaring at us and with a beakful of nesting material. Our first thoughts of course were to wonder if we had brought the backdoor key because if this went the way we hoped then the front door was going to be out of commission for some time.

Over the next days we occasionally observed the Wrens coming and going and we began to feel hopeful that “our” nest might be the chosen one. Most male Wrens make several nests and the female gets to choose which one she is going to lay her eggs in.

The construction activity picked up and our fingers were firmly crossed.

A couple of weeks or so ago the postman was delivering a package and was standing on the doorstep near the nest pot when his hair was parted by a fast-flying Wren zipping out and delivering a tirade of annoyance while he/she did it. No creature does feisty like Wrens do. It began to look as though matters were heating up. Certainly anyone coming within Wren-swearing distance of the door has been getting a right earful of territorial shouting since that day. We have also seen the Wrens working the shrubs and trees in the garden for tasty insects and carrying them back to the nest.

The only way we can see what is happening – and then with some care and trepidation – was through a dirty porch window and even then only through a top corner of it while standing one-legged on a chest. If you know the old music hall song about being able to see the sea “if it wasn’t for the houses in between” you will know what we mean.

We allowed ourselves one quick peek a day while the adults were away and have enjoyed seeing tiny hatchlings with closed eyes develop into teenage birds demanding food – all in the space of a couple of weeks.

Here are some photographs that were “not too bad” despite the dirty glass, for which we apologize. Click on any one to see the images full size

… until finally, this morning, the nest was empty and the youngsters had followed their parents to get on with the growing up business elsewhere. Late morning we watched an adult taking food from our feeders into one of the denser shrubs in the garden.

We would have shared these images sooner, but not while the activity was on-going. It was interesting to note that the birds were seemingly quite unaware of us on the other side off the glass … otherwise even these pictures would not have been possible.

Good luck guys – hope you make it.