another wren story

Download PDF

OK, here is my wren story, as I couldn’t resist.

Here in the southeastern US, we have Carolina Wrens.  So cute and such a wonderful coppery-bronzey color. They seem to share all the same attributes of other wrens, with the number one word that comes to my mind: cheeky. 

At my previous residence we had a breakfast room with large floor to ceiling windows that overlooked a shade garden filled with southeastern US native plants.  I had laboriously hauled in large limestone rocks and had a water feature and bird feeders offering black oil sunflower seeds and suet cakes.  Adjacent was an old greenhouse, that age had deteriorated part of the wood of the structure, which allowed for resourceful little wrens to utilize the many nooks and crannies for their ingress and egress, just right for their nesting. 

Because this garden area was adjacent to a large hardwood bottom swamp, and we had supplied cover, food, water, etc., we always had the privilege of seeing lots of wildlife.  And observing wildlife is a favorite activity for me.  Another resourceful and cute creature that scampered about this garden area was the Eastern Chipmunk.  They delighted in filling their cheeks full of sunflower seeds in the fall, and disappearing down their many warrens they had created around all the limestone rock. 

One chipmunk had become so accomplished, he had learned how to climb the square metal pole which held up one of the bird feeders, so as to eat his fill undisturbed, and his plan for return to terra firma, was…  make yourself into a ball and aim for the soft ground and not the rocks. The reward is worth the fall.

 We also had a good number of snakes, mostly non-venomous species.  Mostly all the creatures lived in their usual live and let live world, until one summer when one of the nesting wrens became ultra territorial.  I don’t know if it was a female or male wren, but he or she became Super Wren, and decided its nesting perimeter was being invaded and it would not be tolerated.  First would come all the vocalizations, warning the hapless intruders, and then that stubby little tail would be twitching so fast, it was a blur. 

I watched this wren peck at 6 foot long king snakes, and dive bomb them, running them away, or into one of the innocent chipmunk’s holes.  And the poor chipmunks!  They really got it from the determined wren.  Most of the chipmunks had large hunks of missing fur all over their backs and heads after a few weeks.  And the one chipmunk that had resourcefully learned to climb the feeder pole, he was the aerial target the wren could really terrorize.  If the wren ever caught the chipmunk on the feeder…  he was toast.  I watched the chipmunk do his best to bury himself down into the seeds in a large Droll Yankee dome top feeder, so as to avoid the relentless bombardment from the wren.  If wrens were bald eagles….  well nature seems to have infinite wisdom, does it not?  Such dynamite could only be allowed in very small packages. 


Jaydee Atkins Ager

Executive Director

American Daffodil Society, Inc.

PO Box 522

Hawkinsville, GA  31036  USA


4 comments for “another wren story

  1. I’m sure Melissa never imagined that her question about the daffodil Canyon Wren would ever prompt such a range of postings. Thanks Henry and Jaydee for the stories. You never do know the twists and turns that might arise from  Daffnet postings.

  2. Well, no, I couldn’t have imagined it.  But isn’t that the richness of fine conversation, that it takes one places one could never have gone alone? 

    At 06:02 AM 9/12/2009, Brian S. Duncan wrote:

    I’m sure Melissa never imagined that her question about the daffodil Canyon Wren would ever prompt such a range of postings. Thanks Henry and Jaydee for the stories. You never do know the twists and turns that might arise from Daffnet postings.

  3. With all the talk about wrens, I couldn’t resist adding something myself.
    Most of the time I have Carolina wrens, but this year I helped raise several hatches of house wrens. One day while I was having my coffee under the dogwood tree, I heard a thump-the birdhouse feel from the tree. When I investigated I saw the birdhouse was damaged but the young wrens inside appeared ok. I got my camera and took a few shots before I set the house on a post. They all made it. I’ll leave out the part about trying to purge the hunting instinct from my excited geriatric cat.
    Tom Taylor 

Comments are closed.