Where There’s a Wren, There’s a Way

One afternoon in early May, I almost stepped on what looked like a little pile of brown lumps by the driver’s side of our car, in the garage. When I leaned down and looked closer, the little brown lumps looked back up at me with bright black eyes.

Three Carolina Wren fledglings were huddled there on the concrete floor, and must have just come out of a nest. A leap of faith that had ended, for the moment, on a cold, hard gray floor – with no sign, perhaps, of the grass and leaves and sky they’d been promised. When I opened the garage door, one of the young birds flew immediately to the sunshine and bushes just outside, but these two stayed where they were for several more minutes, ignoring the calls of the parents. Meanwhile, another baby wren plunged down from a box on a shelf on the wall of the garage, and quickly out the door. The two on the floor finally flew out, too, with a little careful nudging. So at least four young Carolina Wrens successfully fledged from the nest and made it out to the wide, bright, dangerous world beyond.

For several days before this, we had heard peeping from somewhere up in a corner of the garage, so we started leaving the door cracked at the bottom, though now and then we forgot, and closed it again. We usually keep it closed for just this reason – to discourage Carolina Wrens from building a nest in a box or clay pot or inside an old lampshade. We still don’t know how a pair managed to get in and out often enough to raise a family, but somehow they did. They must have been coming in through cracks around the garage door that would barely be big enough.

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