So my parents recently came to visit me from Buffalo, NY and though they stayed at a hotel nearby, I did take time to clean and organize my tiny apartment for their arrival. One thing I did was move my bike outside, onto my back deck, as having it lean against the wall in the entry way is not exactly the furniture choice of the rich and famous. When it was pouring rain the other day I thought “hey, I really need to move that back inside before it gets all rusty.” If not for the fact that it has sentimental value, I might have sold the bike years ago. But still it sits outside, with one wheel up over the deck and smashed against the wall to preserve the small sitting space as much as possible.
Yesterday I spent the morning exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. When I returned, I sat on my couch for a minute, looking outside, watching my hummingbirds… when I noticed a wren hopping on the deck with a beak-full of leaves. ! To my amazement, she hopped up on the chair for a second, then disappeared into the black bag on the back of my bike, emerging several seconds later with an empty mouth. She flew off, but returned a short time later with another bundle of leaves, disappearing silently into the bag.
For the next few hours I sat on my couch, with my camera on my tripod in front of me, watching and shooting as the pair of Carolina Wrens steadily built a lovely nest there in my bike bag. As often happens, all but the moment slipped away, and I became completely engrossed in the present, contentedly snapping away and unable to do much else. Both sexes worked together, though the female was more bold than the male. In wrens the sexes look the same, but the male took a break to sing for a bit after lunch, letting me know which one was the female. Her path to the nest was different than his, with her resting on the chair or the bike wheel and him coming in from the front, away from my curious eyes and clicking camera. He moved from perch to perch to belt out his melodious song while she continued to work alone, bringing load after load of decaying leaves, lichen, rootlets and pine needles. Sometimes she would disappear in the bag and stay there for a while. Though I couldn’t see her then, I could hear her rooting around in there, rearranging and making things just right, in the ways of females of all species all over the world.
The nest is a tiny masterpiece, a perfectly formed circle of soft leaves surrounded by a neat circle of pine needles, all woven together, making a small cup that will hold 5-7 eggs. Watching them build it there was the sweetest gift I’ve been given in a long time and it made my heart smile with joy. I cannot wait to see the eggs and then the baby birds. Not sitting in my chairs for a while is such a small price to pay for this most amazing treasure.
Have you ever had a pair of Carolina Wrens build a nest somewhere unusual near you?