New Residents

I’ve been hoping to attract bluebirds to the nesting boxes at Happy Acres since we moved here three years ago. The bluebirds were here checking out the boxes earlier this year, but apparently someone else beat them to it.

I’ve been pretty sure we had wrens taking up residence, since I kept seeing decoy nests in the nest boxes. Male wrens are famous (or is that notorious) for building what are called dummy or decoy nests in multiple boxes.

dummy nest

The nests either serve to offer the female several alternatives for nesting, or to confuse predators. They may also limit competition from other birds since they tie up the available nesting sites. This nest in the above photo was made of green and dry grasses, and didn’t at all resemble the true nest right next door in another nest box.

house wren nest

There are currently 7 eggs in the real nest, which is mostly constructed of twigs. The white stuff near the top of the nest is spider cocoons the female has brought in.

wren eggs

The nest cup itself is lined with soft feathers, and what looks like some blue plastic material. Curiously, it looks very similar to this wren’s nest, which also has some blue material in it.

I think the answer to attracting bluebirds will be to put out additional nest boxes. The wrens are very territorial, so it may be a challenge for them to peacefully coexist. It can’t hurt to have a few more boxes for everyone to choose from.

Shel with her 'Don't bother me, I'm sleeping' look

And there’s nothing wrong with having wrens around, since they are voracious feeders of caterpillars, moths, and other insects. We need more helpers around here who can pull their own weight, so to speak. Heaven knows the cats aren’t doing any real work!

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9 Responses to New Residents

  1. Momma_S says:

    Intersting! Thanks for teaching me something I didn’t know about wrens. Looking forward to pics of the babies…

    • Villager says:

      I’m hoping to document the youngsters. I’m not sure if she is done laying eggs or not, but time will tell.

  2. Ali says:

    Classic use of the infamous blue plastic tarp! Thanks for sharing, I learn something new just about every time I click over here.


  3. Wrens I do have! They are nice to have around the garden. When I’m digging up the grass and come across grubs I put them in a terra cotta plant tray and the wrens eat them up – yum! I always see “sticks” in my decorative bird houses – this is something the male does so the female can select which one she likes best? How fun to have a nest box you can monitor! Love seeing those little eggs and the interesting materials used to build the nests.

  4. Liza says:

    I can’t believe you haven’t yet taught that cat how to do chores. Mine’s doing the dishes right now.

  5. Uh oh, it looks like maybe Shel has been demoted 😛 That’s alright, our dogs don’t work terribly hard around here. That’s quite a nest-box full of eggs! I rather like wrens, but the only blue birds we have around here are our noisy Stellar’s Jays! Caterpillars beware…once all those eggs hatch, your days will be numbered!

  6. mac says:

    I learn something new again, didn’t know there’s such thing as “decoy nest”, that’s a very smart bird, thanks for sharing the photos, looking forward to see the babes.

    Shel looks exactly like my boss Andy, he has the same green scratcher.

  7. Lexa says:

    Beautiful Pictures. If you visit my blog you will see the cats in Oregon aren’t pulling their weight either! I guess it does keep the birds safe.

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