Tuesday, May 25, 2010

House Wrens Housing Woes

A pair of House Wrens are trying valiantly to move into the apartment building behind our goat barn. A pair of House Sparrows are trying just as hard to keep them out. There are four apartments in the little green barn so they really should be able to coexist... but neither pair is willing to do so.When the papa wren first toured the green barn bird house, it was unoccupied. He sat on top and sang and sang. But when he brought his mate to inspect, a male House Sparrow decided his mate would like it, too. Since, then, it's been war, although each pair has chosen apartments on opposite sides.

So far, the House Sparrows have the upper hand, being twice as big. But the House Wrens are determined and feisty. The sparrows have started setting up housekeeping on one side of the apartment building. Whenever one of them ventures to the side claimed by the House Wrens, a wren divebombs and hits it. Twice I've seen a wren take a sparrow all the way to the ground. But no harm is ever done and the sparrows are undeterred and continue to chase the wrens away.

I have to admire the wrens' technique: one of them sits nearby and sings continually, as though singing will convince the sparrows that they'd be wonderful neighbors. It's not working, though.
Next year, I'll put something over the doors to make them too small for the sparrows to get in. But this year, I just wish the wrens would move to one of the three unoccupied nest boxes near the house, all with holes too small for sparrows. I don't know why they have their hearts set on the apartment building.

I spend way too much time watching the goings on. Sometimes, though, there's an added bonus. While taking photos of the wrens yesterday, something bright red flew onto a post beyond. It turned out to be this handsome Red-breasted Sapsucker.

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