July 19, 2019 at 6:47 pm #7608
House wrens are just the worst‼️ They are relentless once they have their eye on a box. I was checking the box around 6:00pm, noticed only 3 eggs when there had been 4. In closer investigation one of the 3 eggs has the wren peck mark, so I look on the ground in front of the box, sure enough there is #4. These eggs were due to hatch the next day. The one on the ground also had the peck mark…grrr. I do not know what time the attack occurred, but the egg felt warm from the sun. So, I thought I’ll put it back in the nest…..we’ll see what happens.
I checked the next day….2 hatched….The one I put back in the nest had a big crack in it. Today it hatched‼️ The other egg has a larger chip area, maybe mama blue is trying to help. I’m hoping the 4th will hatch too. Time will tell. Yes, the box has a wren guard. We are also dealing with the heat wave. Put up white styrofoam on the roof, back and west side.
Judy-MichiganJuly 21, 2019 at 10:58 am #7617
HOWR! Grrrr! If he was going to attack he did it at the right time. Any earlier and he would have succeeding in killing them.
Sadly, guards don’t always work. Does yours have sides? That sometimes helps. Extra length helps too.
I hope the adults are vigilant for the next week or so. He will get in again if he can.
Atlanta, GAJuly 21, 2019 at 1:13 pm #7620
It looks like egg #4 will not hatch. Gin, the box in use is a slot box, so the wren guard is about 2 1/2 inches front and sides. Almost like a hooded porch cover. I’m beginning to think HOWR attacks depend on where they are at in their nesting cycle. This pair of blues used the other round hole box on their 1st nesting. Mama did not accept the guard, so her first nesting was successful without a wren guard. I also wonder…..without the guard they can see around their box before leaving….with it in place they can not. Last season I had a wren destroy a nest with the guard in place. Any of you bluebirders choose not to use a guard?
Judy-MichiganJuly 21, 2019 at 6:07 pm #7623
NO – the only time I have had wren attack eggs is when I did not get my guard on in time and they knew about the box/eggs. I have had a wren/wrens here all summer but I keep them busy putting new sticks in the box they have chosen and that way they seem to stay away from the BB house. Now, granted, this may not always work but it has for me. I’ll have to admit this year I did not catch a wren’s nest in time (just after they arrived in spring) and by the time I found it there was an egg in it. Needless to say, I had to eat crow and let nature take its course, as bad as I hated to.
Right now I have BB nest #3 with 5 eggs in it, with wren guard, spooker and heat shield on it – quite an ugly site. But this one wren just keeps putting more sticks in its box and I just keep taking them out. I don’t believe it has ever found a mate. P.S. My guard does have side on it, just like Gin was talking about. It also extends out 3 inches from the hole, which is much easier for the parents to enter & feed the babies.July 21, 2019 at 8:53 pm #7626
Carol, I like your idea of a dummy box for wrens. How far is it away from the bluebird boxes in use? You are so right about them filling boxes with sticks all day long. We have a lot of them in our neighborhood, I can hear them from all directions. They are coming into areas not typical for them. We have mowed lawns without a lot of brushy areas. I wish they would leave…..I dread hearing their call‼️ Thanks for the idea.
Judy-MichiganJuly 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm #7631
Judy, fortunately I have a very large yard, about 2 acres, with at least 1 1/4 acres or more in the back yard. My 4 boxes are at the four corners of my back yard lot, approximately 300′ away from each other – which I believe is why I have had success with this method, but you can probably get by with less. Even two boxes are better than one if you can space them far enough apart. And yes, like you, my area is not brushy at all. We have a pasture of fescue grass on the other side of our back fence (we live in a rural subdivision) and keep our yard mowed well. They are definitely a pain, plus they don’t read the rule books on where they belong!July 23, 2019 at 9:20 am #7632
Lol….I agree HOWRs need to read the rule book. We are also in a rural subdivision with large acreage. We have paired boxes front and backyards. I had hubby make me a portable post in a coffee can with cement, I can move around the yard next season. So with your four boxes you let the wrens choose one to fill? Of the 4 boxes how many pairs of blues have you had nesting at one time. All 4 filled with blues would be super cool‼️
Judy-MichiganJuly 23, 2019 at 9:38 am #7633
Judy, usually I have only one box of blues at a time (they are very territorial) – the other boxes I use to trap HOSP or run the wrens crazy by refilling box with sticks. I believe only 2 different times in my 11 bluebirding years have I had two blues nests at same time. I did have two years of tree swallows along with the bluebirds. But your statement about having all 4 boxes with blues would definitely be super cool but don’t believe that will ever happen.July 26, 2019 at 10:24 am #7637
Judy, I agree with you that sometimes wren attacks don’t seem as prevalent during some parts of their nesting cycle. The males do become a little less aggressive when they have successfully attracted a mate and she builds a cup. Activity in his own box keeps him busier than when he is frantically trying to fill every available cavity with sticks. I have boxes that are not visible from each other and that maybe helps some years when there is wren activity here. Other years I have constant wren attacks, with or without guards. There are no guarantees with guards.
For a very long time, I have noticed wren action where there used to be none. They are for sure moving farther and farther away from brushy areas. What’s up with that–I have no idea.
You don’t like their “song”? Neither do I. I haven’t heard it lately though since the only nest they started here this year was a failure. Guess they moved on. A big YAY to that.
Atlanta, GAJuly 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm #7638
Gin, thanks for your response. Guess all we can do is try a wren guard and hope for the best. The guard does keep rain from blowing into the box during a storm. Good news …the babies are 11 days old and the wren didn’t return to do more damage. They should fledge in a week or so.
In the front box there are 4 bluebird eggs…..should hatch next Thursday (2nd nesting). Over all it’s been a great season. Happy Birding‼️
Judy-MichiganJuly 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm #7639
Judy, don’t forget to remove the wren guard now – it will hinder the fledging process. Those babies will begin peeking about 2 days prior to leaving the nest. At 11 days old they are big enough a wren can’t pick them up – I would suggest doing it now. Suggested time to remove the wren guard is when babies are 8-10 days old. Do it as soon as possible – this also helps the parents feed the larger babies in the nest. Good luck! (Mine are due to hatch in about 5 days)July 28, 2019 at 12:50 pm #7643
Thanks Carol……the guard is off. I had in my notes to remove it on day 11 or 12. Do you prefer earlier? I have been doing it on day eleven. I appreciate all the help.
Judy-MichiganJuly 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm #7646
Judy, I’m glad you had remembered – day 12 is the last day we can look into the box so as to prevent an early fledge. You are pretty much on target – it’s been suggested that the parents can feed the babies easier with the wren guard off, and according to sialis.org. “Remember to remove the guard after babies are 4-7 days old to make it easier for adults to feed and babies to fledge.”
Although most everyone here agrees that 4-7 days old is a little early – why not protect them a few more days since the guard is already there. But it is really much easier for them to receive the food with the guard off. But you’re aware of all this, I believe – so good luck with the fledging .July 29, 2019 at 12:11 pm #7651
Four to seven days is WAY too early for me. I looked at my week old chicks yesterday and no way would I leave them unprotected at this point. They are still so vulnerable and a wren could peck them to death even if he couldn’t remove them. Day 11 or 12 works well for me. Adults seem to get around a guard just fine from what I see here. At 12 days they are usually still going in the box to feed chicks and remove sacs and not feeding anybody at the opening.
Has anybody noticed that when there is a wren guard and one of the adults is in the box that the other one stands lookout? If there is danger, the one on the outside will sound a warning and the one in the box does not come out.
I remember DECADES ago not even knowing about wren guards and having no need for them. Geez. Bird populations change and not always for the better.
Atlanta, GANovember 3, 2019 at 6:52 pm #7789tamseaModerator
My daughter is going to have a huge issue this next year with wrens because her hubby refused to stall the wren that was building so it had a family. I cringe when I think of the battle that she will probably have this coming season.
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