This house wren nest was discovered in a 15 year old nestbox along an overgrown fencerow. When the box was placed for bluebirds, the area was free of vegetation, making it unsuitable for the scores of other species that have since taken up residence along the fencerow.
I only briefly recorded this nesting because the site was not within reach of an AC supply to run the vcr. While house wrens are an extremely interesting species, I don't want them to nest in my cedar camera boxes in the yard instead of their gourds. One option in the future is to cut the top off a gourd nest and wire it to a camera box so I can record the full nesting.
One interesting observation at this nest was an attack by 5 starlings. On the video monitor in the truck I noticed an adult hunkered down on the nest as low as it could get, with some of the older nestlings under her. Looking up, I saw the 5 starlings surrounding the nestbox. One was perched on top, one peering in the entrance and three nearby on branches. The other adult wren was perched within a foot of one of the starlings, giving alarm calls. While he wouldn't attack the starlings while they were perched, he immediately pounced on the back of any one that flew to a new perch. After about two minutes, the starlings lost interest and flew off together. In several more minutes both wrens returned to life as usual, as if this were a common occurance.
The following still photos are taken from a single frame of video from the vhs tapes. This process results in a substantial loss of quality compared to the original camera image and vhs tape.
House Wren nest raid
House wrens are often not welcomed in back yards because they aggressively compete for nest boxes with other species. In the worst case scenario, a male wren may decide to destroy all cavity nests in the vicinity. This is done by sneaking in and pecking the eggs or young when the box is unattended. While monitoring 9 empty nestboxes from a blind behind my workshop, I noticed a house wren periodically perching at the entrance hole of several of the large flicker and flycatcher boxes, peering inside for a moment and then flying off. This was July 19 and all the nesting appeared to be over except for the barn swallows and bluebirds. There was little avian activity in the pine grove, except for this one wren. Being a nosy landlord, I placed two infertile swallow eggs in one of the large flycatcher boxes. As expected, the next day the eggs had been removed. I then fit a video camera and placed 4 more eggs in the box. In several hours, the wren visited the box, dropped down to inspect the eggs and then began vigorously pecking one to punch a hole in it. He then inserted his lower beak into the hole so he could grasp the egg and flew away with it. He returned in several seconds and repeated this action with each of the remaining eggs. After the last egg was removed, he returned and carefully inspected the pine needle nest cup (mine) to make sure there were no more eggs. Convinced the eggs were all gone, he didn't return until the next morning. A mate wasn't observed and no nesting was initiated in the immediate area.
House Wren nest raid
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