The Cad Wren and the Single Mum
by Jenny N
(Concord MA, USA)
Mum Wren on her own
A Wren Story
Every summer we enjoy watching a pair of wrens raise one or two broods in the birdhouse under the porch eaves.
This year we got front row seats to a different sort of drama.
We had the established pair, doing their thing, when a rival male showed up.
He was very aggressive; presumably he wanted to mate with the female and wasn't about to give up and go away.
Tragically, I watched him drive off the parent birds one day and then pull each of the nestlings out of the nest and kill them.
I was heartbroken.
I retrieved each little lifeless body and buried them under a stand of daisies.
Then I took the birdhouse down and cleaned it out.
I replaced it with a different one, hoping to attract another nesting pair.
We didn't get a new pair. What we got was "Herod" (for that is what I dubbed him) laying the foundations of a new nest for a new mate.
And when he attracted one, I sat on the porch and warned her, "Girl, he's no good."
Herod lived up to his dodgy reputation.
Whereas in the past other males have stuck around to help raise the chicks, Herod loved her and left her.
She raised that brood all on her own, and I was strangely thrilled to watch them fledge.
After the last chick had left nest, who reappeared but Herod, who began cleaning out the birdhouse, no doubt hoping that he could attract another gullible female!