A little brown bird flew under my truck looking for tasty insects. It perched on a tire and carefully checked out the wheel well. Nothing to eat hiding there. The search continued. It flew to another tire to search that area. Finally it flew to the front of the truck to look around the radiator. Spotting a moth, the mama bird quickly fluttered over and grabbed it with her sharp beak. She was hungry and gulped the morsel down. Soon she would need to share whatever food she found.
From there, it was a short 5 foot flight back to the flower pot. Wiggling into the cup of the nest, she made herself comfortable. She'd been spending more time there the past couple of days. It was almost time!
Three weeks before she had been checking dark areas that might hide tasty spiders or insects when she found a place to build a cozy nest inside my carport.
There didn't seem to be too much activity around the potential nest site itself. The wren saw us humans pull our car and truck in and out, roll out the lawn mower, or wheel barrow, and even occasionally use a very noisy table saw.
For a small creature only six inches long, a huge truck rumbling to within five feet of its nest, or the earthquake of my table saw ripping a wooden plank less than fifteen feet away must have been scary, but wrens are used to nesting close to us humans. We help protect them from predators and offer great shelter from the weather around our houses.
In an out-of-the-way spot there is a big flower pot on top of a stack of several other pots. Some smaller pots take up some of the space inside it. It is only two feet above the carport floor, but it must have seemed safe. For as long as she had been watching, it had not been bothered by me or my wife, who also used the area.
She helped her mate fill the space in the bottom of the pot with leaves, moss, and grass. The nest itself was a warm bowl they hollowed out in the middle of all those gathered materials.
It's kind of funny how we found the Carolina Wren nest in the carport. My wife, Candy, needed a container to plant a flower in, and all the ones I had nearby weren't quite large enough. I told her to check the carport.
Out of dozens stored there, it was chance that she reached for the very flower pot holding the nest. I was working nearby and heard her scream from the carport. At first I thought maybe she had seen a mouse or a snake. Instead she had been surprised when mama wren flew from the pot when her hand was only inches away.
The sneaky momma wren had already laid four eggs before we discovered the nest. I began to monitor the nest and take photos every day or two. This is great nature journal stuff! Here is the timeline from my nature journal:
May 18: Found nest, female wren flew out. 4 eggs inside. (Photo)
May 19: Female flew out. 4 eggs.
May 21: 4 eggs. Female not on nest.
May 23: Female flew out. 4 eggs. (Close-up photo taken.)
May 25: Female flew out. 4 eggs still.
May 26: Female did not leave nest when I took photo. Has something changed? Did not go back near nest. (Photo taken showing mother wren).
May 27: Snuck up on nest site. (Took quick photo) 3 eggs had hatched! There were 3 tiny naked wrens inside, with one unhatched egg. Female wren not present. I left nest site quickly so she could return. I suspect the next time I check, the last egg will have hatched.
Keep your eyes open for great stories in your yard that you can write about in your own journal.