Roberts: Wrens are fun to watch

Roberts: Wrens are fun to watch

May 8th, 2012 by Dalton Roberts in Life Entertainment

Wrens have always been one of my favorite birds. Going all the way back to my college days when I took ornithology at Trevecca College, I have loved wrens.

They are so perky with their little upturned tails and nervous, jerky movements. Keep some shelled peanuts out, and you will never be without wrens. They will keep spiders under control around your home. They love to stalk spiders.

I wrote a term paper titled "The Nesting Habits of Wrens." The bottom line is that they have no predictable nesting habits. The one rule is, "Anything goes." I cataloged the contents of a wren nest, and I remember it had an ice-cream wrapper, a shoelace and a half dozen strange ingredients.

I wish I had kept that term paper, but that was years before starting a personal journal. Nothing will make you aware of the value of keeping what Norman Vincent Peale called "the precious little souvenirs and pieces of your everyday life" like a personal journal.

My love for wrens has caused me to want to attach one of those suction-cup nests to a window with a quarter-size opening, which is the size wrens prefer, and maybe next year will be the year I finally get to it. I want to watch them build a nest.

I am a little nervous about those suction-cup nests. What if it falls? As insurance against a fall, maybe I can also tie a string to the top and secure it to the eave of the house. If anyone has tried the suction-cup nests, please tell me how it worked for you.

One year I had a sack of concrete in the garage and was horrified when wrens nested in it. There were scads of roaming feral cats in the area where we lived at that time. I practically stood guard over that sack every day until their little ones were out of the nest.

My father had a large hanging planter on his front porch for years, and the wrens would build in it every year. He also wondered why cats didn't raid it. He finally moved it because of his anxiety about cats.

If a bird enters your house, it will most likely be a wren. Their curiosity simply overwhelms them. They will get in if there is any small opening they can find.

The last one that got inside my house may be dead now. It was a baby wren that scurried from room to room and finally ended up in a crowded closet. Glenda got a flashlight and carefully went through the closet without finding him. All we knew to do was to leave out a little food (dehydrated mealworms) and hope he would survive. But we haven't seen him for days, and it is hard to see how he could have escaped.

I think he entered through the chimney. My damper is closed, but I have seen them come through some tiny holes.

The best tip I have heard for catching birds that get into the house is to throw a towel over them to immobilize their wings, then reach under the towel and hold down their wings until you can get them outside.

Happy birding inside and outside your home!

Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.