19 wrens born in Belvedere bird boxes over the summer

wren feeding chick lansing WBUThe school grounds seem quiet in the summer to us humans, but they are full of life — and this summer, they teemed with more life than usual. In addition to being a regular stop for deer, fox, raccoons, snakes, bats and insects, Belvedere provided a nursery for house wrens. Nineteen wrens were born and fledged (learned to fly) in the two bird boxes that three students helped install last spring near the playground and the Foxwood Nook path.

Early this year, Carmen Bishop, president of the Virginia Bluebird Society, came to Belvedere to help us figure out where to locate the boxes. Conservationists initially put up bird boxes in the late 1970s to combat bluebird endangerment. The boxes not only have significantly revived that species’ numbers, but also have provided safe havens for other native cavity nesters (birds that build their nests in small holes, often in dead trees) such as house wrens and tree swallows. From May through August, a team of five bird monitors took turns checking each week on the boxes and recording for VBS what they found. The monitors included Mrs. Gualtieri, Mrs. Deutsch, parent Elizabeth Lower-Basch and her children, and Virginia Master Naturalists Mary Powell and Sandy and Paul Uhler.

I wish I could claim credit for the photo above, but Belvedere’s wrens are much too crafty, quick and aggressive to be caught feeding their young. The photo above, not taken at Belvedere, is by Virginia photographer Scott Young. Most of Belvedere’s adult wrens look like the one in this photo by high-speed photographer Steve Gettlehouse wren diving in stevegettle Usually, as we approached the boxes over the summer, we’d have one of these zooming toward us, and a couple of us were even pecked on the hands and head. As a result, we were only able to get the photos below, one of eggs and one of an empty nest. At the top, nestled in the twigs, is a soft bed for the eggs and, eventually, chicks.

The wrens have stopped building nests for now. But when spring comes, if you’re near the boxes, watch your head!

wren eggs 2013wren nest in box 2013


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Melanie Brookes-Weiss on September 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Wonderful! What a lovely little tale of environemental success and new bird life thanks to Belvedere! Loved this article. Thank you. Brookes-Weiss Family


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