Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cyrano: Pushing His Luck

Throughout June, we observed our House Wren Cyrano continue to woo his Roxanne. Every morning they would both be seen, singing from nearby branches and other favorite perches (our cobalt-blue gazing ball being one), happy to have found each other. Pretty soon, the stuffing of the old-man nestbox began; twigs, pine needles, and Carly's fur (the only benefit to the massive shedding of her winter coat) were schlepped inside until we thought not one more pine needle could fit. Then things quieted down as eggs were laid and tended. Oh, Cyrano still sang, but his song was noticeably quieter. We could still hear it--right at daybreak outside our open bedroom window, causing Bruce to have this love/hate relationship with him. The bird simply cannot stop singing.

Bruce's fancy new camera at work
We truly were thrilled, though, to watch this unlikely couple make a go at having a family. I was all set for this blog post to be centered on Cyrano, Roxanne, and (fingers crossed) new babies successfully fledging from the nest and entering the world. A nice little package of a story, wrapped up with a big happy bow. There is more to it, though--so just keep reading.

And indeed, the family was successful. At least three wrens hatched, and Roxanne and Cyrano hustled their little upright tails off bringing insects to nourish babies Edmond (for Edmond Rostand, playwright for Cyrano de Bergerac), Geraldine (for Geraldine McCaughrean, who re-wrote the play as a novel); and Martin (for Steve Martin, who wrote the screenplay for the movie Roxanne, winning a Writers Guild of America award). Note: Neither Bruce nor I are one for naming our yard critters, but what the heck. This is an exception.

Forage and feed, forage and feed, and on it went. Pretty soon, the heads of Edmond, Geraldine, and Martin started to appear as they grew. We could see the nest was packed with nest-stuff, and often when Cyrano or Roxanne would bring food in, they would take things out; cleaning house, so to speak. The usual item carted out being poop from the babies. Such is life, and you had to admire the cleanliness of these birds.

The light-colored rim of their beaks goes slightly downward,
making the young 'uns look grumpy. Quit complaining, I say!

The old man nestbox is starting to show a little wear and tear!

We didn't know exactly when the birds would fledge out of the nest. One evening while sitting on the back deck enjoying our yard birds and the sunset, we noticed that the box was quiet. Too quiet. Cyrano and Roxanne seemed to have disappeared. The eerie silence went on for about 20 minutes. Bruce and I looked at each other with pained expressions of heartbreak, sadness, and a tad bit of joy. The family may have moved on, but we played a tiny role in adding a few more wrens to this world. We couldn't believe how sad we were, though, and realized at that very moment how important Cyrano and Roxanne had become in our daily lives. It was just too quiet without them, and worst of all, we didn't get a chance to say good-bye!!!

Then....movement, wren-song, and what sounded like apologetic wren-chatter as Cyrano and Roxanne returned to the box and the family woke up with open mouths. Whew. All accounted for, safe and sound. Continue on.

It had to happen, though. Two days after the above photos were taken, the young birds popped out of the nest while we were on our morning walk, and old man nestbox fell quiet.

Two summers ago when our nesting juncos fledged (see earlier post), mom, dad, and kids left the yard right away, never to return. We hoped this wouldn't be the case with Cyrano and his brood. And it wasn't, at least not right away.


This section of our yard, especially the honeysuckle bush on the pole fence, became Wren Central. The young wrens used this bush as their fort, hidden away as they learned the ropes from mom and dad. Sections of the bush would sometimes tremble while the young bounced around within. Chattering noises abounded, making us wonder what sort of conversations were going on. And, we soon started seeing young wrens perched here and there, sort of huddled in a "please don't see me, Mr. Hawk" position.

For the most part, that's how it went. We think Edmond, Geraldine, and Martin, with Roxanne nearby, are exploring the great new world that is our yard and the adjacent forest of our neigbors, as we can sometimes hear wrens within earshot.

BUT wait, he's baaaaacckkk....Cyrano is at it again. Every morning, right as the dawn breaks (which is early; the clock's first digit is always a "4"), there goes Cyrano. Singing. Loudly. Constantly. Bruce gets up, harumphs and shakes his fist (albeit gently), shuts the window, and tries to get back to sleep. Which doesn't work, because now Carly is up and starts licking, nibbling, and growling to be let out.

The song of the wren fills our mornings yet again. There's Cyrano, bouncing all over the place singing loudly from every perch possible, advertising a second time what a great layout he found for just the right female. Did Roxanne tell him she's just not that into him? Will he succeed against even greater odds in finding a new mate, this late in the nesting season? Dude, don't push it; chill and go out on top!!!

I don't know what happened to Roxanne. She's probably hovering around her brood as they make their way into the forest. Cyrano, though, has transformed into a Don Juan. Now I have to research THAT guy!

Taken just this morning. Here he goes again.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the pics! What fun it's been following your wren saga. AND so nice they had a successful nest. Ann