They grow up so fast! The young wrens are now one week old, and starting to look like birds. I count at least 5 beaks in the nest, but there are probably one or two more. I’m keeping my visits very brief to avoid disturbing the birds any more than necessary.
These are house wrens, and they normally fledge about 16-18 days after hatching. But like many other birds if spooked they may leave the nest prematurely, before they are able to survive outside.
I must admit I have mixed emotions about the wrens. While they certainly will do their part to eat many insects and bugs, they are not exactly going to win any Good Neighbor awards in the bird kingdom. Besides being extremely territorial and defensive, they are also not above trashing other cavity nesting birds’ nests, such as tree swallows and bluebirds. That nest-destroying trait sounds all too much like house sparrows – which are on my very short list of least favorite birds (to put it mildly).
So it is likely I will be trying to discourage the house wrens from occupying the nest boxes again. They are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and so one cannot remove or disturb an active nest – not that I would ever dream of doing so. The key is to keep the nest from being completed in the first place. There are definitely things to try to make the boxes and habitat less hospitable to troublesome birds like the house wrens. It’s ironic that the main reason I’m using this specific style of box is to discourage house sparrows, which seems to to be working, even if it doesn’t keep the wrens away.
In the meantime, I wish the little ones well. May they live long and prosper – just maybe NIMBY.