Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Silence of the Wrens

No, they're not dead. At least I don't think they are. But they're gone.

Yesterday morning the wrens were chattering away, with the mom and dad feeding the babies in their usual frantic fashion. Last night when I got home from work it was quiet, although I thought I heard the chattering of a wren in the next yard somewhere. I figured they had gone to bed for the night.

But this morning, when they were usually highly active, there was silence. The bird house was still hanging on the back of the garage, but there was no chattering emanating from it. No adult wrens flitting back and forth with moths in their mouths. Nothing but silence.

Could the cats have killed both parents and all the babies starved to death in one day? I tiptoed over to the bird house with trepidation, worried that I'd find a bunch of dead baby wrens inside. I peered into the hole but there was nothing but silence and emptiness. No baby wrens.

I went inside and Googled "wren life cycle" and found a thorough article on the House Wren. Sure enough, it said that the incubation period for the eggs was about 13 days, and from birth until the babies were fledged was 12 to 18 days. The timing is right. The wrens have flown the coop.

Apparently House Wrens are quite prolific and actually produce two broods per summer. So the first one has to get up and out so they can start working on another one.

I am sure I heard the chattering of a wren nearby this morning so they must be around somewhere. According to the article, once the breeding is over they are much less conspicuous and much quieter.

I expect they don't produce their second brood in the same place as the first so I guess my days of sitting on the deck in the morning hearing the chattering and singing of the wrens are over. The silence is a little sad but now I hear other birds that were drowned out by the wrens. And today I heard the first cicada. The cycle of life continues.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same way when our bluebird family leaves every year.

Mauigirl said...

It is a strange kind of bereft feeling when they're gone, for sure.

You are so lucky to have bluebirds! I've only seen a bluebird twice in my life, both times at Cape Cod. I guess it's a little too populous here in northern New Jersey for them.

Christopher said...

I never thought about this.

Outside our bathroom there was all this activity as a bird built a nest and occupied it in shirt order.

Soon there were little birds sitting in the nest and before long, all of them were gone and the nest is now empty.

One thing about this part of the country is, there's an abundance of birds. Some are blue, others are orange and a few are red.

We even have a woodpecker. Really the oddest bird of all and he's just like the cartoon.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Wow, that was fast.

D.K. Raed said...

When our two baby hummingbirds disappeared last month, I looked all around the ground below their tree to make sure they hadn't just fallen out of their nest. I knew they were getting big enough to leave, but still feel kind of lonely not having the mother hummer dive-bombing me around their nest. Each little heads was about the size of a garbanzo bean. Now I wonder if they are some of ones that come around every evening to flit from bloom to bloom. And I wonder if we'll get a nest in the same place next year. That would make 3-yrs in a row.

I bet your wrens are still in your neighborhood, getting on with their adult life.

enigma4ever said...

oh this tugged at my sweet that you kept track...thank you..

I guess Empty Nest syndrome feels like this....

It is so hard when you don't even get to say goodbye....but atleast you know they are off together somewhere.....

Randal Graves said...

I heard a lot of bird chatter yesterday, which was mildly surprising. We seem to hear - and see - birds less and less all the time. It hasn't been anything pronounced, but it's noticeable over a span of a decade or so.

Distributorcap said...

i think the birds realized they were living in bush's america and fled to canada as fast as they could


how about a movie

The Silence of the Wrens --- jodie foster might be good at flipping the bird

Mauigirl said...

Christopher, when we lived up there we saw all kinds of great birds in the woods near our house. How nice you got to watch the baby birds grow up outside your window. Our wrens were in the wooden bird house so you couldn't see the babies. But they sure made noise!

Ruth - yes, I never realized how quickly they grow up!

D.K., how wonderful to have a hummingbird nest! I'm sure you're right, they're still in the neighborhood. In fact, I've been hearing the wren sing again in a nearby tree - probably advertising for his second wife!

Enigma, I know - if only they had chosen a weekend day to leave! We could have watched them go...

Randal, there are definitely fewer birds around than when I was young. And fewer trees too, not coincidentally.

DCap, interesting theory...does that mean they're going to become Canadian Wrens? I agree, Jodie Foster should be in the movie!

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