Wild Times: Who needs an alarm clock?

This morning the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. I groaned and rolled over to my back and stared at the rotating ceiling fan. It was barely light out. I thought to myself that there was no reason to get up yet.

I tried to ease back into a slumber, but the alarm kept sounding off. In fact, the crazy alarm was sounding off about every 30 seconds. I could not believe that Paula could not hear it but I could tell that she was sound asleep. The problem here was that I could not shut the alarm off. The alarm that kept going off was about one story down and on the front porch. It was the pair of house wrens that had recently moved in and set up shop.

As soon as there is any glimmer of the sun rising in the east, the wrens are ready to start the day with their melodious singing. It has been several years since any wrens have nested in the house that is mounted to a front porch support post. Years ago, I had wrens move in and start nesting, but a six-foot rat snake found the box and nest and crawled inside and turned everyone’s world upside down.

I had to take the nesting box down and take it apart to get that snake out of there! It is hard to believe that a snake that measured just under six feet could entirely fit inside a wren house! I have the pictures to prove it. I evicted the snake and had hopes of the wrens moving back, but it was not to be.

Years and years went by before there was even a sniff of activity by any wrens at the wren house. Last year, I had a pair of wrens move in and start the nesting process. I was elated. The activity lasted only a few days and then abruptly ended. I have no idea what went wrong, but one day the wrens were there and the next they were gone.

Every day when I am out doing chores, I hear the wrens in the area singing away. I know that there are several in the area because their calling is easy to identify. If you have ever heard a wren sing, you will never forget the sound. About a week ago, I heard that old familiar sound of the singing of a wren. I could tell that it was coming from the front porch area. I eased into the living room and peered out the window and sure enough on the porch rail banister below the wren house was a wren. He or she was singing their heart out.

Yes! Within a day, the pair had made their presence known and it was obvious that they were constructing a nest. I would sneak out and peek at them occasionally and they were in and out of that house a hundred times. Several days have since passed and it looks like they are here to stay. The singing is non-stop. It is really constant at the first crack of daylight and then throughout the morning and then tapers off as the day progresses.

As I did a little studying about the house wren, I discovered that the wrens will nest up to three times in the short time that they are here. Like a lot of the birds in our area, the house wren is a migrant. They will arrive here in mid to late April and will be gone by September. They will usually lay from five to eight eggs, but sometimes lay up to six to 12.

A male wren defends the nesting site by his melodious singing. If another bird nest is nearby, the male wren will pierce the eggs in that nest with his beak and destroy them. Incubation period for the nesting wrens is 12 to 15 days and after hatching the young wrens will leave the nest in 12 to 18 days. Pretty fast and furious action to say the least.

When you observe the wrens, they are very tiny birds and they are actually quite beautiful. It is hard to believe that such a small bird can be so vocal. Their call is hard to describe but it is easily recognizable after you figure out what you are hearing. Actually, I am very glad that after all these years I have wrens back in the house. Even though I am not fond of getting up at the crack of dawn, I can probably tolerate it for a few more weeks. It won’t be long and those wrens will be heading back south!

Tim Kellenberger119 Posts

Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.


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