Killer Birds

We have a hiking boot birdhouse (see top inset) that has attracted house wrens every summer since we first hung it a few years ago. It’s just in the shape of a boot (child-size), so I’m not entirely sure what’s attracting them. This spring, we successfully hatched (and launched) a full nest, and within days of their departure, the nest was being rebuilt and, apparently, reloaded.

Turns out house wrens aren’t as cute as they look.

I had just come back from a run when I saw a commotion in the nest not typical of what we had seen with previous occupations. I walked over and asked what they were doing (literally, I said, “What are you doing?”), and one of two birds flew out. The second one clung to the side of the birdhouse, and just stared at me (me standing less than a foot away). I could see the end of its beak was wet, and at least one egg partially hanging out of the entryway (exitway?). That second bird flew off, so I was able to get a good look inside.

Mass murder.

Within a few hours, somebody or other had returned and tossed what was left of the eggs out onto the concrete of the porch floor (see bottom inset). Interestingly, this isn’t the first time this has happened. We’re thinking it’s all a territorial dispute, and it may be gang-related.

The sad part is the bird (or birds) that keep returning to look in the nest and cry on top of the house, refusing to go in. The good news is, our second birdhouse–which hasn’t been occupied since the fall I cleaned out a baby bird skeleton–is showing signs of activity.