Friday, July 10, 2009
On closer inspection
July 6. Baby wrens flew this morning early. It’s so quiet in the back yard now. No parents scolding us for walking past. No babies screaming for food. We’ve watched them for about five weeks. First the male who sang and sang and sang from the lilac, the clothesline, garage roof, until finally a female deigned to join him. The twigs this tiny couple (they weigh half an ounce each at most, that’s like less than one square of baking chocolate) hauled and maneuvered and pushed through a hole the size of a quarter! That would be like threading logs through the mail slot.
Wrens build scrappy, messy nests, nothing fine or woven about them. We took down the nest to clean it out. Good thing, too. It’s possible they’ll raise another brood, or the chickadees might decide to move in for awhile. The house has hinges so the roof and side can be opened. Nifty. It was packed full. I pulled the whole mess out and noticed there was a lot of dust in the bottom like black pepper had been dumped. Shook it out, peered at it and noticed it was moving. Adjusted my glasses, bent closer, and saw the little grains were piles of living mites. I guess it’s not uncommon for birds to carry mites, but this was so creepy. I still shudder to think of it and all the more when someone joked maybe that’s what our mattresses look like. Ahhhh. I don’t want to hear. What a mix of beauty and repugnance.