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2007 Scotland
2004 Spain
1996 Ireland
1992 Maui
1990 Portugal
1989 England
1983 France
1980 Big Bend
1979 Cozumel

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In Austin:
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Personal Tai Chi
The Fragrant Garden
Shari Elkins Hikes w Dogs Austin360 Movies


Our History in Birds (continued)

After I scared off the canyon wren, Carolina and Bewick's wrens moved in with great enthusiasm, in numbers. They nest, and they sing as sweetly as any bird in the world. They also have a raspy scolding routine that they can use to face down even a mob of house sparrows.

Wren on wheelbarrow

The Wren Family

We have raised two families of birds over the years. The first was a family of wrens. In the early years I put up a little birdhouse on the back porch, and wrens immediately moved in. The laid five little wren eggs and hatched five healthy wren babies. Mother was visiting me when they fledged, luckily on a Saturday morning when all three of us were handy.

Bewick's wrenOne by one, they ventured out. The house had a little perch outside the doorhole. The biggest baby bird elbowed his siblings out of the way and demanded the perch. Then he looked scared. Now the other babies squealed and dared and jeered at him, until there was nothing for it but for him to try to fly out. He fluttered down to the floor of the porch.

The second biggest baby burst out onto the perch and then he, too, was daunted, until peer-pressured into taking the plunge. And so it went, until they were all hopping and fluttering happily in the sunshine under the close supervision of their anxious parents.

House sparrows now harry the wrens away from the porch birdhouse, and admittedly also we have allowed vines to grow too close to it. But I still see wrens inspecting the birdhouse in the spring and then giving up when the house sparrows pester them and try to stick their fat heads in the door.

The wrens have moved to the shed. I bought Craig one of those leather toolbelts and hung it in the shed on a nail. Within two days, there was a wren nest in the pocket. So Craig has never used the toolbelt.



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