Dicromantispa interrupta

Dicromantispa interrupta
Mantisfly

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Carolina Wrens in the House


A few days after I returned from Florida to my place in North Carolina at the beginning of March, a pair of Carolina Wrens (Thryothorus ludovicianus) built a nest on top of an electric outlet box in my house. The house was (is) still under construction, so they could easily get in and out at will. Over the next week, the female laid five eggs in the nest. I didn’t want to quit working on the house and didn’t want to evict the birds either, although I had already run off four or five flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) from the eaves and a major nest of house mice (Mus musculus) from the basement. So, I just left the birds alone and went to work on the house.

The wrens and I puttered around each other, they warily and me deliberately. I tried to give them as much personal space as I could, but house construction went on regardless. Over the next two months they incubated the eggs and fed the hatchlings in the nest until yesterday, when the nestlings fledged. I don’t know how many of the original five survived, but I counted at least four. This photo shows three of them in the house:


The four young-uns and their parents freaked out when I arrived that morning, but three of the nestlings were able to fly from the nest area up to the soffit and then across and down into a mountain laurel bush (Kalmia latifolia) outside where they remained and rested for a while. The fourth nestling, apparently the runt of the litter, was too weak to make it up to the soffit. It tried to hide from me and then escape my gentle clutches, all to no avail:


I easily captured it and placed it outside in the shrubs where I had seen the others, but by then they were gone. Hopefully, its parents heard its weak chirps and came to rescue it, but it was no longer there when I checked on it later.

Of course, I immediately removed the nest from the house, and they have not since replaced it. If they try to do so, I’ll delete it before they can lay more eggs in it. However, my guess is that they have built a second nest elsewhere outside away from the Big Bad Buford.

I am amazed at how many species of wildlife have already tried to move in on me this year. Besides the flying squirrels, house mice and wrens, there are mud daubers, paper wasps, a scorpion, and numerous spiders. I am not alone.

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