Friday, May 16, 2014

Nestbox. Bird. Challenge. Victory.

   Several years ago, my husband was browsing the web for something to pop out on the screen as a good birthday present for his wife (me). He found this quaint wooden nest box that had a carved caricature of an old man with a large nose, holding a pair of binoculars. The entry holes for the birds are the man's nostrils. It is very cute, and we hang it on a tree near our back deck every spring.

   The box is made for wrens, the entry holes being in the configuration that wrens like (facing horizontally out so they can go up and in). It's been checked out over the years by nuthatches, but there's never been any use of it by any bird--because our yard isn't really good wren habitat. The only time our yard was visited by a house wren (the most common wren species up here), it was a fly-by out front. Hello, no thanks, nothing good here, goodbye.
This is what the box looked like in 2005. 2006. 2007.
2008. 2009. 2010. 2011. 2012. And 2013.

Here is John James Audubon's illustration of a House Wren, note the nest configuration, in an old hat:

    Imagine our surprise when, just a couple weeks ago, a male house wren inspected our little man, and decided it was the perfect pad for a mate. We know it was a male, because in House Wren World, males find a nest spot (or a few spots), build the start of a nest (or a few nests), attract a mate, and then SHE gets to choose which nest they'll use. So there was this proud dude, flying inside with sticks and soft stuff, and then perching himself on a nearby branch, busting with pride and singing his wee little heart out. Like this:

    Singing singing singing. This would go on for hours, I am not kidding you. He'd move to a different branch, and start over. Hours. It was heartbreaking, like watching Cyrano de Bergerac trying desperately to woo his Roxanne. Wait. Cyrano. Cyr-wren-o.....perfect!!!

    After a couple days of this lone, ever more desperate song piercing our souls, I mentioned to Bruce that, you know, Cyrano may not get his Roxanne, considering Roxanne may never come within a half-mile of this property. We could only hope and watch.

    Bruce had a lot of chances to watch, too, because he had many, many yard projects going on. When Bruce works in the yard, he pulls out this boombox, tunes into the local oldies radio station, and plays it loud enough to hear it from all over the yard. A week or so ago, I came home from work to find Bruce in the yard, constructing whatever. The boombox was pulled out like normal, but it wasn't on. I talked to him a bit about our day, and inquired "why aren't you listening to the radio?"

    With this sheepish voice, he said quietly, "The wren wouldn't be heard by any females...I didn't have the heart to drown him out." (all together now "aaaawwwwwwwwwwwww...").

    And that is why I married him.

    But back to the story. Cyrano continued to sing, we continued to wait. Day after day.

    Today, I went on my morning walk with Carly, and Bruce hung back in the yard to fix, build, or water something. Upon our return, Bruce motioned me over to him. With a twinkle in his eye and barely a smile, he asked "What would be the best news you could possibly hear right now?" I thought a bit, and then it hit me.


   We grinned at each other and cheered. Score one for perseverance. You go, Cyrano.

   Over breakfast on the back deck, I saw both Cyrano and Roxanne. One was singing, one was fluffing up the nest--both reminding me that sometimes, it's the little things in life that count, big time.

Our Cyrano

His Roxanne

1 comment:

  1. Such a sweet story! Oh Bruce, what a guy :) - your niece jenny