Monday, August 10, 2015

Carolina Wrens

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a bird has built her nest in our hanging flower pot that's beside our front door. Every time I would peek in at her, she would quickly fly away and chirp at me from a nearby tree. Concerned she would be scared away for good, I tried to be a little more careful about my spying habits and stopped checking on her so much. Watering the flowers proved a delicate process as I didn't want to disturb the nest.

A little over a week ago or so, my mom, Karen--our neighbor--and I were hanging on the swing in our front yard when we noticed a crazy amount of chirping coming from the flower pot. I dashed over to check things out and sure enough--three tiny babies with their mouths wide open were letting the world know that they were hungry.

Mom, Jace and I kept a constant watch on this little brood and loved sitting out on the swing, spying their parents bring them bugs and other such bird delectables. As the days progressed and the chicks got bigger, they would actually come out of the nest to the edge of the flower pot when the mama bird called, snatching their meal from her mouth.

Sparti was particularly interested in all of the goings on in the little flower pot. He would sit on the front step, his tail twitching, eyes wide, and watch with eager anticipation. We all feared the worst when these adorable little guys decided to try out their wings.

One evening while Jace was watching mama feed her babies, sitting quietly on the step, he noticed something black saunter quietly up the driveway. He assumed it was Ike, a neighbor's large dog that sometimes visits, and so continued his peaceful watch. And then he looked again...and came dashing inside: "There's a bear in our yard!" And sure enough. A very large bear decided our yard looked like good feeding grounds and took his time inspecting the garbage can and such. Roy opened the front door to get a picture and Piper shot off like a rocket, assuming he's a lion rather than a 25 pound cockapoo. But clearly the bear decided he wasn't taking his chances because he shot out of the yard and up a tree while Roy and I screamed our heads off until Piper, assuming he'd done a job well-done of protecting his territory, proudly headed back home, his head held high.


Anyway...I began to research so that I would know when we could expect these little guys to learn the art of flying, and soon learned that we had a family of Carolina wrens. I learned so many interesting facts about these little birds such as they mate for life, and it only takes a whopping 14 days from the time the babies hatch until they leave the nest for good. 14 days! But they hang with the parents for another four weeks as they work on their flying skills and the parents teach them how to search for food.

Yesterday it was pretty clear that these little guys were ready to fly. We scooped up Sparti and Ajax, locked the cat door and deemed them indoor cats for the day. Roy and I headed out to Sam's Club and while I was there, walking the aisles and scooping up cat food and bananas and such, my phone rang: "One of the little birds flew the nest!" Mom said, excitedly. And then she told me in detail how she and Jace watched from the step while one of the fledglings dropped down into the flower bed below him and then haltingly flew under the golf cart while mama bird called nearby.

We went school shopping yesterday. School shopping ranks as a favorite activity during the month of August. Who doesn't love picking out mechanical pencils and shiny new notebooks and a backpack with pockets and zippers for all of those dreams of organization that support the I am absolutely going to be a Straight A Student this year mantra. Jace very carefully checked out all of the different supplies. "No Mom--that protractor is purple. Purple is for girls....I don't like that notebook. This one's better...I think I want that narrow ruled paper this year..." It's quite a long process but one we all enjoy and so he took his time, walking the aisles, choosing what he deemed the very best.

I probably spend far more on school supplies than is necessary--always have...I think it's the piece of me that will always love school and I live vicariously through my kids when it comes time to buy for the new school year.

Anyway, once we'd crossed every item off the list and placed it snuggly in the basket, we headed for the back of Walmart and found some decorations for our fish tank, which was looking awfully dim and sad.

Not anymore!

And then we came home, hungry and anxious to arrive so that we could skype with Darian who was not so patiently waiting (in Bolivia) our arrival as she, after two weeks of no contact, finally had Internet.

And can I just say, it was so good to see her face? to hear her stories? to know that she's safe and sound and loving life?



The little nest was empty. All of the fledgings had flown the coop. Our yard was silent. No more Carolina wrens hopping from bush to tree to porch railing to flower pot to feed the babies. No more evening porch swing viewing sessions. No more wren songs and trills and calls.

Jace said to me last night, "Oh Mom, I miss those babies. I miss the Carolina wrens."

Me too, Jace.

Me too.

1 comment:

  1. Dang it! Now I want to go school shopping! And? I'm checking all of my hanging baskets to see if, just in case, there's s nest I missed seeing!! Your ability to bring a story to life is incredible! Even protractors and mechanical pencils!


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