I have written several articles about the wren families that regularly visit our back yard. Sure enough, they returned again this year to set up housekeeping in the wren house I provide for them. They always reward us with their humorous antics, their singing, and their dedication as parents.
Their nest building phase had begun as usual, but an unforeseen glitch caused some trouble for them. A robin had built a nest under our deck, now occupied by several hungry babies, and is about twenty feet away from the pole-mounted wren house. Apparently, the robin had decided to use the roof of the wren house for a convenient resting place, as well as for a strategic look-out position. She could often be seen sitting up there with a beak full of Gerber Birdie Chow - a mix of wiggling worms and bugs. Then, when the coast was clear, mom would quickly swoop down to feed her always-hungry kids.
The wrens didn’t appreciate the robin’s intrusion into their space. After all...they had staked a claim to the housing, and their nest construction was well under way. But lately, a chubby, red-breasted monster had suddenly invaded their territorial rights. That development was just too much...certainly a just cause for war...a fight for freedom...and even a struggle for survival.
However, the battle that ensued was not easy, nor was it a decisive victory for either side. The feisty wrens with their relentless and vicious waves of attack were pitted against a foe that appeared to be immoveable and undaunted, but, even worse, the enemy seemed determined to ignore the wren’s strategic advances.
Time after time the wrens would dive toward their target using a kamikaze style approach while loudly scolding and screaming, “Aaahhhhheeeeyyyaaaaaa!” Then, at the last split second before impact, they would abruptly change course to circle around for another run.
In spite of that, the rather bored looking robin seemed to be saying, “Get out of my face you noisy little twerps! I’m not leaving here. Besides, I out-weigh you by at least 15 to 1."
The wrens seemed even more convinced the intruder had to go. They probably reasoned that since the fly-over intimidation didn’t work, it was now time to change tactics. Annoying chattering began...probably name calling...such as, “Get out now, you fat glob of feathers."
But, the robin stayed there as if it were anchored to the rooftop. At that point one of the wrens flew onto the roof and stayed there - inches away from the robin. They were staring at each other...eye ball to eyeball...for several minutes without moving. I can only guess that they were negotiating some sort of agreement for sharing the roof space. After a short time they both flew away.
Since then they have both been back, but now seem to tolerate each other. The robin would only need to be there for about another week until her kids were on their own. The wrens would be there much longer to complete their nest and raise their family.
So, which of them won the war? I believe they both declared victory.
Read more articles by Donald Mehl or search for articles on the same topic or others.
Since birds are my favorites of God's creation, next to human babies, I could be as engrossed as you, watching your birds. So, thank you for this virtual bird-watching episode in what I hope will be your storybook about your "tenants." Thanks for the fun, Don!