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Newsflash! Wrenlettes Have Fledged - the Full Story

by Ellen
(Beavercreek, OH)

How Baby Wrens Leave the Nest



The past week or so I noticed increased activity at the nest opening: lots of head poking, beak poking, sniffing the air maybe?

When parents arrived at the nest they turned back and flew away, then returned, back and forth, sometimes without a beak-full of insect.

Nest maintenance continued, bathroom duty persevered in the face of that ongoing and rising commotion.

Sunday Aug 10 at 9:30 as I sat in my front row seat at the dining table, sipping tea, beaks protruded even further out of the house that hangs just beyond my great room window. Ahah!

Maybe this is the moment I've been waiting for and my hopes rise.

Yes, a beak, then a head. looking out, down, around, then up and over, ever so carefully extending further and further, the first bold baby leaned out, then back in. Then out.

Then it tilted its gray-brown head upward to look at the edges of the house and leaned further, tentatively grasping with a foot, then a second foot to the edge of the opening.

UP it tilted to the roof, fluttering up and stood there at the peak, blinking and wondering, head quickly turning and not moving its legs, then after about 20 seconds off it flew, I think, toward nearby branches of the service-berry wherein the nesting house was hanging..

(An aside: during the past few days the nest noise has been so loud that several other birds have investigated: cardinals on display with fanned tails, a chickadee tilting upside down, another striped gray larger bird I didn't recognize perched too close - parents were chattering 'Get away, step back,' fluttering wings quickly as they leaned forward.)

Baby 2 followed quickly to the opening, peering this way and that, in and out, then grasped the edge of the opening, and out... oops diving forward and disappearing downward to my garden below, out of sight.

Oh, my heart leapt, I hoped all was well. Leaves rustled, my imagination went wild.

Baby 3 then leaned out, a head, eyes, pale mouth evident.

Opening its mouth, maybe calling up a parent or courage, it called out boldly as voice(s) behind were still doing.

A parent came with an insect and stuffed it in the open beak. It was difficult to tell how many were left.

Baby 3 leaned out, looking up, down, around to get a measure of the world out there, and again backing in and then out, and looking back and out, dark to light, and then OFF!

It hit my window, bouncing down and away. Oh, I jumped forward, but again saw nothing below the glass in the leaves of the garden.

Seconds later Baby 4 then peered out and same thing, head tilting up, down, around, seeing the world in a shaded but still brighter light from a darkened nest; a tentative claw grasping the edge of the opening, maybe, no, maybe not.

Forward, then back. Then trying again, stepping forward, leaning forward, tail emerging above the small body - whoa - maybe not.

A fringe of feathers around the opening, tail disappears back into the nest.

Okay, we'll try this again; okay, this is it - launch - and yikes, bouncing off the next window!

Again, I jumped forward to look down, nothing but a slight rustling among the leaves.

Baby 5 (now the research said that 2-5 eggs are laid, so here I am looking at baby FIVE) is looking out, then back in, and then loses its courage.

Back and forth, in and out, and I wait. And wait. And wait. And giving up impatiently, I turn to the side window where there is wrenlette activity in branches and leaves.

Yes, there's a young adult on a serviceberry branch, teetering tentatively, whoops - a bit of tilt almost too far, then back, whew, safe.

Then, ah, another flutter in nearby lilac bushes, just barely visible under lower lilac leaves and dappled light, lots of preening, tucking and quiet flutters, a small bird head and body, no feet moving, just slight feather moves with body turns.

The young one in the branch has hopped up a bit further on the same branch; ah, now another young adult has fluttered up to that branch from the leaf-covered ground.

The ones who landed on the ground prior must be these new flyers. The first one further up the branch progresses, teetering and getting his balance better and better with each hop.

Now there are three just 3 feet apart from one another, all calling, mouths open, do they recognize one another's voices?

When the first young adult gets to the slimmer end of the branch, it hesitates, launches up - into the lilac bushes nearby, while the young one still below stays put.

Another boink on the glass and Baby 5 has launched, I missed that one's nest exit and raced to the window, another head and mouth inside the nest.

Oh my, 6 babies. What an exhausting wild ride for those parents as new chicks graduate to a brave new world.

Applause and satisfaction for having seen this wonder-filled reality show so close!!

A lesson here?

Some are intrepid and with very little advance time jump out of the nest into a larger dangerous world, others take longer.

Stepping forward and back, sniffing, then retreating, then stepping forward again, to lean - oh, on top of the nest, others to the ground to scuffle around, then onto a branch with cheering parent nearby.

Some never get that parent cheer - parents having flown to get the wriggling insect - but get up to the first branch, teetering back and forward, and then hop, up and off eventually; others hide out a while longer, who knows how long....

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