A Snake Got My House Wrens, So Sad

by D. Lutz
(Highland, Illinois)

I so much enjoy the wrens that visit my backyard and build their nests in my wren houses but this year was not good.

bird feather in the opening of the wren house

Bird Feather in the Opening

The wrens chose an old wren house that was hanging on my screened-in porch.

They worked diligently building the nest, they are so ambitious and singing so happily. Momma wren laid 3 eggs.

One morning I knew they had hatched as momma and daddy eagerly brought bugs, spiders, and other insects for the babies to eat.

Then in a few days, I could hear the little ones starting to chirp. They were growing! It was the 4th of July, a warm evening.

Fireworks were going off nearby, so I went to my porch to watch the fireworks.

While sitting there I noticed either the momma or daddy was chatting fiercely, in a tree nearby was the other adult making a squealing chatter, it sounded like a distressed call.

I watched the other adult looking up under the porch roof. I knew something was wrong.

I started getting worried and started looking for a predator. On the ground slowly crawling was a snake!

I grabbed a shovel and out the door, I went trying to kill the snake. He was too fast and got away.

The next morning I was sitting on the porch and I believe it was the daddy wren, perched near the wren house chattering and trying to go in the wren house but just wouldn’t go in.

I ventured outside to investigate, and above under the roof ledge was a snake coiled up. I thought oh no it got my babies.

I had read to scare or get rid of a snake, get the water hose! I did and sprayed the snake until he finally woke up and started slithering.

I had told my neighbor to bring her tile spade over and that I was going to kill a snake.

After much spraying with the water hose, the snake came down.

I decapitated it and chopped it into several pieces.

Lo and behold there were 3 baby wrens the snake had consumed. It broke my heart.

Needless to say, the snake went to my burn pile and was cremated. I am sure the momma wren lost her life too but didn’t see it.

For several days I believe the papa wren hung around, chattering and nervously clinging to a tree and putting sticks in another nearby wren house, maybe hoping momma would return? I don't know.

I have noticed in the house where the babies were, a feather has been placed in the hole while all other houses have a stick sticking out.

I saw an article about the death of wrens and a feather was placed there as a tomb.

I sit on my porch morning and evening and one lonely wren still sings and chatters while sitting in a tree.

I suppose it's waiting for its mate who will never return as I think the snake got it.

I have no remorse for the snake as it consumed the baby wrens and maybe momma.

I have actually shed a tear when I hear the lonely one chattering.

Oh yes, you can see the feather in the photo. I have left it there.

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