With 3 cats frequenting the yard around our home, this spring I've watched the frantic activity in the nest pot on the breezeway with both interest and concern. Would the Carolina wrens possibly be able to fledge their young without losing one or all to the cats?
The answer is a strongly probable YES! Last Saturday Greg was watering the garden during the late afternoon and went out to move the hose. As he stepped out the front door he suddenly stopped and whispered, "Get your camera!"
I had no idea what had caught his attention, but I followed his instructions immediately. As I carefully stepped out onto the front porch, he softly said, "There! In the aromatic aster by the path. A fledgling wren...."
I took a photo, although all I could see was a small, brownish mass. As I slowly edged to the right, a little more of the young bird came into focus. Definitely one of the Carolinas.
As I watched and shot a couple photos, the young bird couldn't stand the suspense any more and fluttered to the base of the Bradford pear, about 20' away. Both Greg and I were scanning the garden bed, porch and breezeway for signs of a cat, but all seemed quiet. I moved quietly to try to get another photo, but I was moving too much for Little Wren and it frantically flew/scrabbled...
... up to the lowest crotch of the Bradford pear, where it blended into the bark of the tree and rested a bit.
Then it seemed to decide that it needed to go higher into the tree. Rather than flying, it tried to climb the righthand trunk....
Actually, come to think of it, the little bird did more than try to climb the trunk. It wasn't pretty, but little fledgling succeeded in climbing up it! I lost sight of the fledgling in the tree canopy.
Meanwhile Greg noticed another fledgling, also in the Bradford pear, that I never actually set eyes on. Mom and Dad were frantically flying around, sounding the danger alert and trying to distract us.
After Fledgling No. 1 disappeared up into the Bradford pear, unable to see Fledgling No. 2, I checked out the nest pot next to the porch roof - I'd been hearing some cheeps still coming from its vicinity. Sure enough, there was a less adventuresome fledgling still snuggled down into the doorway of the nest, watching all the uproar going on below and not quite ready to leave the security of the only family home it had ever known.
We decided that we'd interrupted things quite enough already, so we went back inside the house to check on the cats, leaving the wrens to their important business. TJ and Bella were sound asleep inside, escaping the heat of the day. Ranger was sprawled on the back deck in the shade, also napping in the afternoon warmth. All of the cats were so used to the wrens sounding the alarm whenever they were around that they paid no attention to the alarm being sounded now....
We were able to keep TJ and Bella inside the house until dark. Ranger meandered around a bit but, as far as we can tell, all of the young wrens managed to fledge successfully. Certainly we've found no piles of feathers anywhere, and we can hear the wrens calling each other in the trees along the creek on the north side of our property. (At least we're telling ourselves they are "our" wrens.) The nest pot is quiet.
A few more noisy, little, rusty brown bundles of energy have joined the big world here in south central Kansas. They will definitely help to keep nature balanced. I can't help but smile as I think about them.