Wreturn of the wrens

Originally the operation at 42nd and Treadmill consisted of half a single building, but over the years it’s expanded to fill up the rest of that building plus one formerly-unrelated structure next door. (We’re not recession-proof, but we’re close.)

Some years back, house wrens conducting reconnaissance in the area discovered that the underside of the second building’s full-width metal awning would accommodate their particular nesting style with ease, and gradually they took over the place, defending the premises with great vigor and carefully disassembling the nests before migration, lest some interlopers take over.

A few birds had been wandering in over the last couple of weeks, but yesterday they were back on site in full force. About a dozen were perched on the edge of the building like small grey gargoyles, standing watch; others were gathering straw for nest construction; still others occupied the bank of trees along where the curb would be if we had a curb, presumably to make sure no one else got the idea of settling in this zone.

This is, I assume, pretty much the inevitable result of adaptation to one’s habitat: these are urban birds with attitude to match, the stereotypically-meekest dove exhibiting pigeon levels of intransigence. I’ve seen conflicts in my own back yard before: blue jays ruled the place for a year or two, then moved on, but paid a visit the following spring, only to be given the Evil Eye by newly-resident robins. Even the local crows, which have a considerable size advantage and a reputation for deviousness, make a point of steering clear of the wrens.





1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    2 March 2008 · 1:52 pm

    Even the local crows, which have a considerable size advantage

    Of course, the size advantage isn’t much of an advantage in an aerial sort of dogfight; if the crows ever figure out how to get a fighter escort (maybe their cousins, the magpies, would be small and agile enough to do the trick) they’re going to be little more than large moving targets for the wrens’ harrying practice.

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