Nesting Season Part Two

Mamma Wren in Her Nest


As I wrote last fall, that is typically “nesting” season for us humans, but of course, spring is nesting season for most of the wildlife that surrounds us, including birds.

Last spring, we cleaned out some boxes from the metal storage building and left them on the front covered porch.

A little wren decided to make a nest there and by the time I discovered it, there were little eggs already in the nest and we didn’t want to disturb her.

Although I love having my morning coffee on the front porch in the warm weather months, for about two months we used the back door as much as we could. We kept a distanced eye on her and her eggs. By May, we heard the little peeps chirping for food. By the first of June, her little babies were all gone and I reclaimed my front porch.

The Wasps Thought This House was For Them

We thought we had solved the problem by hanging a birdhouse on one of the posts, just in case the mother bird returned this spring.

A couple of weekends ago, I also asked Dale to clean off the front porch, as this is where we stack the stove wood for easy picking during the winter. I was hoping to remove all other possible places for her to nest.

But it was too late, our little mamma had come back, nesting in the corner of this table where he does some of his cast iron cooking.

Instead of being in a box over on the ice cream table she is right in the middle of the porch facing the front door.

Dale thought it would be a good idea on Friday to place some branches on the table so she might feel more masked.

Unfortunately, she didn’t like that at all. When she returned to the nest, she squawked loudly and wouldn’t come back to her nest until I removed the branches a couple of hours later.

Yesterday, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette had a very interesting article about what to do with baby birds should you find one outside of its’ nest. Good info all of us this time of year.

When I took this photo of the birdhouse we hung, I found out why mamma bird didn’t nest there, I saw wasps flying in and out. Those critters are everywhere and unfortunately, claimed the wren house before she could.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve encountered a bird’s nest around your house?

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22 Responses

  1. Deb says:

    There is a lamp post between the garage and the house. Years ago it ‘caught’ a high fly ball, breaking some of the glass. When there was a addition to the house the light switch to the lamp post was put to use for something else, so there’s no power to the lamp post. Over the years the ivy was allowed to grow over the top and birds will nest in where there used to be a light bulb. The ivy shades the little hide-away. Without ivy it is too hot to stay in there.

  2. I’ve been obsessively following the antics of two baby Great Horned Owls in a nest on a trail I regularly hike. Yesterday I checked and they were gone, and I had such a pang of sorrow; my own firstborn is off to college this fall and all of a sudden I realized that “empty nest” is a very apt metaphor!

  3. I love the picture of the wren in the box of leaves.Interesting choice of nesting. The cats in our neighborhood would destroy it. They have killed many of my bluebirds and doves. It saddens me.

    • Outdoor cats can be pretty destructive to the native bird populations, Mary. That is sad that people do not take care of their cats, keeping them at home where they, as well as the birds, are safe. We live far enough out in the country that cats don’t last too long here. Even my aunt’s barn cats have met a fate to bigger predators.

  4. Sandy says:

    We had an old small kitchen cabinet(the one that goes above your frig)underneath out storage shed that a Carolina Wren made her nest in. It had been placed on a scrap lumber pile and was practically on the ground. When the 5 eggs later hatched, the parent birds seemed tireless in keeping the nest clean and feeding the chicks. We set up a camcorder and were amazed that they seemed to know which chick’s turn it was to go first each feeding time.

    We just had 4 Eastern Bluebird eggs hatch, either last evening or sometime today. They are so featherless and fragile looking! Can’t wait to see what sexes we have!

  5. Susan says:

    I had a very sad incident about a Wren when we lived in Gloucester Va. I had a hanging basket on the front porch that a Wren liked to make a nest in. A black snake (about 5 ft long)knew she was nesting there as well. I chased him off after many attempts on his part to get to the nest. I actually watched him once climb up the porch railing and stretched to get to the nest. I beat him with a broom at that time. The next morning he was coiled up in the nest and had gotten all the babies. I knocked him out of the nest and went after him with a lawn mower…he was PO’d with me and lunged at me several times before I killed him. Normally I would not bother a black snake but was really mad that he had killed the babies. I know he was just looking for a meal…but not at my house. 🙁

    • Ugh, Susan. I know we are supposed to leave the wildlife to do what it is they do, but I’m afraid I would have had to have taken action on the black snake the first time I saw him. We do leave black snakes alone as they eat the wood rats, as well as some of the poisonous snakes we have around here. Coming up on the porch after “our” wren would be a different story.

  6. Sharon Waldrop says:

    Oh, here’s a strange one……………….

    A few years ago we were barbecuing at my father-in-laws and when we opened the lid to his grill to get the fire started, there was a nest with eggs inside! We had to broil the steaks in the oven instead of grill them.

    Later on, we noticed the mother bird going in and out of the barbecue through a round hole at the side. My father-in-law wasn’t able to use his grill for several weeks until the eggs hatched and the babies were old enough to leave the nest.

  7. Sharon Waldrop says:

    Kerri — Although this isn’t a strange place for a bird to build a nest, it sure is interesting! A cardinal built a nest in a busy that sits just outside my daughter’s bedroom window. When we would open the shade, we had a full view of the nest, baby birds, and mother and father feeding them. The nest was about four inches away from the window, so we had to be very quiet and still so that we wouldn’t disturb them. Having a front row seat to watch both the mother and father feed the babies was fascinating!

    • Maybe I will leave this little wren’s nest alone (although I’m sure Dale will want to use that table this summer!) That is so cool that you had a ring side seat! A very nice benefit of having them build so close to humans.

      • Sharon Waldrop says:

        Oh, and I meant to say that the nest was build in a “bush”, not “bush”.

  8. Sharon Waldrop says:

    Kathleen — I don’t know if our Wren is a Carolina Wren (we live in Georgia), but the nest she built and has returned to for the past four years is in an area busy with human activity. Odd that they would do that! She built the nest on top of a light socket inside the covered patio by our garage door. We go in and out of that garage door often because we keep the feed for our farm animals in the garage. What’s nice about the spot is that it stays dry in the rain and is away from the wind in those breezy spring days. The wind picks up pretty hard around here.

  9. Sharon Waldrop says:

    Kerri — I am a big fan of wild birds and I love this post! We have a wren who has returned to the same nest she built for the past four years! She just enhances it with new grass and hair from our horses tales and manes each spring. Coincidentally, she is a wren too, like your little friend!

  10. Kathleen Winn says:

    We had a wren nest in our outhouse (on our rural property) three years in a row! Her nest was not hidden or camouflaged at all- but sitting smack on a shelf right by the door- completely exposed. We had no choice but to make our comings and goings as unobtrusive as possible, and she didn’t seem to mind our occasional presence in her “house.” I guess maybe an outhouse does look a little like a giant birdhouse, but it seemed like an odd place to want to nest, to us. It was fun watching the babies go from nestlings to fledglings, but we decided to patch the hole where she was getting in, after the last clutch of babies. I talked to a Conservation agent about putting up a wren house near the outhouse to give her a new nest location. He said I would probably do as well by nailing an old boot to a tree, because Carolina Wrens are known for choosing odd nesting sites, and very often near human activity. There is a theory that the birds instinctively understand that most wild predators will avoid humans, and so nesting near them, gives a certain measure of safety at least in their little bird brains!

    • I’m glad you gave that theory, Kathy! I couldn’t figure out why, with all of these woods, a bird would choose to nest right on our front porch! I’m sure there’s truth to that.

  11. MarthaandMe says:

    My parents had a wreath on their front door that a nest was made in. Every time they came in or out of the house the mama bird had a fit. But she came back year after year to nest there.

  12. Alexandra says:

    Our yellow kayak … which was turned upside down. A wren thought it was perfect for her babies ….