I was looking at John’s house from the office window the other day so I could watch Priscilla feeding the first brood of babies. John is never far away while the little ones are still in the nest. He may be sitting in the flowering crabapple tree near their house or in the maple about 10 feet away.
He has four houses total in these two trees that he has claimed and has to keep watch on all of them along with protecting his female and the young that are in the nest. A hatch of about 6 is normal but we have had a few that had up to 9 at a time.
It was nice that morning and I had the office window open so I could hear him singing to his mate and to the babies. I saw Priscilla come and go several times and then all heck broke loose in the crabapple tree. The first problem was a male sparrow.
The sparrow was just trying to steal nest material I think but John didn’t know that. He thought the sparrow was after his babies. John flew from the maple tree to the top of the house but that didn’t deter the sparrow so John dove down onto the sparrow’s back and raked him off the house.
John went back to his branch to sing and Priscilla kept finding more bugs for the babies. She made it back and got them fed while John sat and sang to them. It wasn’t long until the sparrow came back but he didn’t get a chance to even land on the house before John was off the branch and was after him. The Sparrow flew up into the tree and sat down on a branch, but he was still in their tree so John went after him again.
John would dive at him and hit him with his sharp little beak and pound him with his wings. The sparrow kept trying to get away from him but as long as he was in the crabapple tree John was not happy. So the sparrow finally got tired of being beat on and pecked at and left the tree. I didn’t see him in the tree again that morning.
Feeding went off without a hitch for about an hour or so. The sparrow had had enough and went his merry way. But then I noticed a squirrel on a branch in the crabapple tree about 5 feet above the wren house. He was eating the small crabapples. I decided to stay at the window and see how this turned out.
John had been gone feeding for a few minutes and I just waited on him to come back to his look out branch. It didn’t take long for the new adventure to unfold in the crabapple tree. John came back and landed on his favorite branch but as he opened his mouth to sing he noticed the squirrel on the branch above his house.
The squirrel had no idea what was about to come tearing at him. John flew right at him and came down on his back. He was hitting him with his wings and grabbing fur with his bill. The squirrel jumped up and turned around trying to figure out what kind of devil had landed on him.
John flew off just a few inches and the squirrel left that branch and ran to another one. But he was still in the crabapple tree. So John was on him again and showing no mercy. After the squirrel tried the third branch with the same result he dropped to the ground under the tree.
As soon as the squirrel’s feet hit the ground John was on him again. The squirrel was running in circles, ducking and jumping into the air and trying to get away from this little terror from the sky. He probably wondered what he had done to get into so much trouble.
After a few more dives at the squirrel to pound him with his wings and take a few bits of fur with him John let the squirrel race out of the yard and across the street. John went back to his lookout branch and started to sing.
I am sure in the song he was bragging to Priscilla and the family. He was telling them what a great protector he is and about running off the big bad squirrel that was in their tree. But he had earned the right to sing because he had sent the sparrow and the squirrel racing away from their tree.
The babies of John and Priscilla have begun to look out the door. There is only one little face at this point and Priscilla still has to go inside to feed most of them. But in a week or so they will be making the leap from their home into the big world.
The day they make the leap, both John and Priscilla will be there to encourage them to come out and join them. As soon as they make the leap they are fed and then they are under John’s watchful eye. He will teach them what to eat and where to find it.
In a day or so Priscilla will be sitting on a new nest in one of the other houses and John Q. Wren the protector won’t have as much time to sing. He will be watching over the babies and the new house Priscilla has chosen. To contact Sandy: [email protected]