I’ve had old wooden peach crates and clotheslines on my mind lately. They’re a thing of the past. That probably affects us in some rather unexpected ways. I doubt, for example, that most kids today have ever made a wren house, and there probably aren’t as many wren houses in our yards as there used to be. I think we are a little poorer because of it.
I would bet the vast majority of guys over 50 (and certainly some of you ladies) made at least one wren house from a peach crate as a kid. It seems the Cub Scouts in my hometown made at least one each year. Furthermore, it was likely put up on one end of the clothesline. I remember that our clothesline had one at each end. Each of my grandmas had a few in their yards too, some (if not all) were gifts from their grandkids.
The reason for these thoughts now is that I’m getting impatient to hear a house wren outside our bedroom window (with the windows slightly open of course). That first morning of waking up to the bubbly melody of a house wren is kind of special. It also makes me a little nostalgic.
The males are quite vocal during the mating season, but less so later in the summer. To impress their mate, the male will put a few twigs in several potential nesting sites. The female then inspects them and chooses the actual nesting site.
Wrens will also entertain you with their behavioral antics. They’re just fun to watch. It’s great fun, for example, to watch them try to get a long twig into the house.
Get a little too close to a wren house, however, and you’re going to get a good scolding. They’ll hop around and chatter at you, emphatically informing you that they’re not one bit happy about you having the audacity to invade their space.
Having a yard without wrens is like having Aunt Jemima’s pancakes without her syrup (remember that jingle?). I hope you have at least one wren house in your yard. If not, go make or buy some. I don’t think you can have too many. The wren’s antics and bubbly song will brighten your summer days.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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