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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Wren's Nest

A beautiful little house wren has built a nest in a basket on our back porch.  What a clever little bird she is!  Not only does she have a view to die for, as the back porch overlooks the creek and waterfall, but she also has two big guard dogs to keep her and her babies safe.  Yesterday  morning she sat on the edge of her basket and looked me straight in the eye as if to say a cheerful, "Good morning!" and proceeded to belt out the happiest little song you ever heard.  I think she knows she's got it made.  Here is a photo of her nest.

It is a cavelike little construction with a top and sides and a warm little bed lined with soft mosses and hair (from the dogs!) on the inside.  If I was a bird, I would want this little house.  I watch her from the kitchen window bringing in one item at a time.  It has taken weeks for it to progress to this point.  And I noticed, as I looked very closely at it during her absence, that she has taken great care in choosing her materials as well as where she places each little piece.  Now, my question is, do you suppose that she is decorating this nest?  Look here at the delicate little flower she has placed on top...

It positively looks like lace!  And I also see in there some small dried nuts or berries, and of course the soft green moss.  This brings up an intriguing question.  If she is going to the extra effort to make her nest more beautiful, why?  Is beauty necessary?  The obvious purpose of the nest is to keep herself and her babies snug and warm and dry until they are ready to leave, so why make it beautiful as well?  Do you think that animals have aesthetic sensibilities as we do?  It would certainly seem so.  But, what is the purpose of beauty?  Certainly, an ugly nest would do just as well?  And considering the big picture, ugly creatures like cockroaches and monkfish reproduce just as abundantly, if not more so, than beautiful ones like peacocks and butterflies.  So, I say that beauty is really not necessary for survival.  And yet, it is everywhere.  Even in the smallest details of this little wren's nest.  I believe it is a gift. What do you think?

10 comments:

Meg said...

What a pretty little nest, Starr. It sure does look like she has gone to some trouble to decorate. Well, I guess it is the nursery - perhaps you should leave her some short lengths of embroidery thread or scraps of fabric and see what she does with them. I like the skeleton of the hydrangea flower. It does look like old lace!

Starr White said...

Yes! Or perhaps some yarn..she might want to knit something for the babies!!

Meg said...

True - she's a wren, not a stitch bird.

Brad Quillen said...

The male wren builds the nest, not the female. He is decorating it in an attempt to impress the ladies.

Starr White said...

Well, how about that? thank you, Brad, for the information....now it certainly all makes sense..lol!!

Caroline H said...

I think I have a wren's nest behind the trellis for my clematis plant (I'm in North East Scotland)& found this blog when researching what a wren's nest looks like.
I thought you might be interested in this link by David Attenborough. It shows the bower bird in Australia choosing colours and decorating his bower to attract a mate! Hope you like it, the quality of the recording improves as it goes on :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPbWJPsBPdA

Starr White said...

Thank you so much, Caroline! How very thoughtful of you - and clever too. There are certainly similarities between the two, aren't there? This darling little wren family has returned this year, and we have 4 eggs in the nest! Thanks again for your visit and for the link!

Caroline H said...

Hi again Starr, I saw the wren yesterday evening! He or she had something in her beak, I'm not sure if it was food for chicks or just more nesting material. I am going to try to video any action over the next days or weeks. Luckily the nest is just outside my window so I will be able to keep a look out without disturbing the wrens. I'll try to post a picture but not sure how to do it...

Caroline H said...

http://i1211.photobucket.com/albums/cc428/vintiquechique/IMG_3716_zps215fe41e.jpg

Caroline H said...

Sorry Starr, I don't think that worked :(