Nesting Bewick’s wrens: Part One – Nest construction

Most years, a pair of Bewick’s wrens will make this hollow live-oak root knot their nesting site. (This year – 2024 – they seem to have passed us by.)

Nest construction begins in early March and takes about a week. The wrens frame the nest with twigs and then create a soft, warm cup lined with leaves, moss, fibers, and – finally – feathers. The mama wren lays 5 or 6 beautiful pinky-cream eggs with brown sloshy freckles on them and will begin incubating full time once she’s finished laying.

The chicks hatch two weeks later, and then and the serious effort begins, with both parents working hard to provide food for everyone. The young chicks’ digestive systems sometimes can’t cope with the bigger bugs that their parents shove down their tiny throats, and it’s not unusual to see a fecal sac with actively wriggling contents. We’ll often see a parent seem to consider the sac, note that the bug inside is still intact, and – thinking “what the hell, why not?” – eat it themselves.

Baby birds are goofy-looking little things, huge heads with buggy eyes on unfeasibly frail necks. It seems incredible that they can survive. But they do (mostly) and after a couple of weeks they are magically transformed into fully-fledged wrens. One by one they launch themselves out of the nest to join their waiting parents in the big wide world. That first flight always seems to us to be enormously brave; the chicks have never been outside the nest, they’ve never flown, they’ve barely even had a chance to stretch their wings, and yet they hear their parents calling and off they go.

#wrens #texas #backyardwildlife #wildlife #shorts

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