Category: Local Wildlife

Waiting for Hummingbirds

By , April 17, 2017

Late spring always brings a sense of anticipation to the homestead. We’re eagerly awaiting the herring run and the accompanying humpback whales, orcas, and  Dolly Varden char. We anticipate fresh garden and wild greens, and warmer weather. With all of this, one wouldn’t think that the arrival of hummingbirds tops our list. Yet, it does.

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Pacific Wren Nest

By , April 9, 2017

A while back, Michelle found a bird nest while trimming tree limbs. It’s an interesting ball of plant material, about the size of a soft ball, with a small entry hole.

Pacific wren nest

A Pacific wren nest, with pocket knife for size reference (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

At first we didn’t know what kind of nest is was. Michelle suggested it might be a hummingbird nest, but I felt it was too large for that.

I shared it with a local birding group, and enough people said it was a Pacific wren nest (formerly known as Winter wren—see What’s In a Name? Local Wren Name Changes) that we researched that possibility, and have identified it to our satisfaction.

We have Pacific wrens on the homestead all year round, (see Cock of the Walk and Visited by an Angel) so there’s a slight chance this nest had been recently built. Unfortunately, Michelle cut the limb the nest was on before she saw it, and the nest fell, ruining it. Luckily, we learned that male wrens build as many nests as they can in their territory. When a mate chooses them, they “shop” the available nests until they choose the one they will use for egg laying. So, while we might have lessened one of our local Romeo’s chances slightly, we probably haven’t done too much damage.

The odd thing is that our resident wrens like to hang out under the cabin. We see them all the time, they’re often literally under foot. It seems like we’d have found nests like this long before now, but not so.

The Pacific wrens have begun to sing. Other song birds are arriving as well. We’ve heard varied thrushes in our forest, and I’m pretty sure I heard a ruby crowned kinglet yesterday. Spring is here!

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