Friday, April 1, 2016

A Welcome Trespasser

I first saw her a month or so ago as I stepped out of my house into the attached garage. In the subsequent days I would see her regularly, snooping through boxes, bags, bookcases, and storage shelves. Every time she would scoop away and escape through a small opening in the bottom of the garage door sweeper; a flitting tiny brown form.

This has become a yearly spring encounter for me, the local pair of Carolina wrens checking out the garage for suitable nest site. Sometimes they stay outside and try to use the tubular paper box below the mailbox, if they can beat the Eastern bluebirds and Carolina chickadees to it. Not so this year, no one is in the box as of now. Nor is anyone in the patio grill or potted plants either.

So last week I began a search for the large globular nest with a side entrance hole I was sure was somewhere hidden in the garage. Christmas wreath; no. artificial Christmas tree; no. Christmas garland; no. inside the Christmas manger, nope. Top of the mop head; again nope. Tool pouch; nah too tight. Garden bucket; no. Garden shelf, yes! I mean no, just a deflated basketball. AmVets bag # 1, not this year. AmVets bag #2, ditto. AmVets bag #3, BINGO!

Yes, there she was peering out at me from a depression in the clothes filled with moss and dead leaves. She blinked only once but never abandoned her diligent incubation. Later I would count five tiny cream-colored eggs with brown speckles when she was gone on a feeding break. It’s a safe place. My garage has provided for successful nestings for many years. It’s predator-free; (my old cat quit caring years ago) and the wren doesn’t mind the noisy opening and closing of the doors at all.

If all goes well there will be five gaping mouths to feed in about a week or so, and in a couple of weeks after that a family of Carolina wrens milling around the yard quietly talking back and forth in a murmured chatter.

Carolina wrens are notorious for usurping human space and possessions for raising their families. I gladly give them up every year.

Carolina Wren and Nest by Taylor Piephoff

Carolina Wren and Nest by Taylor Piephoff