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Name: Diane D.
Status: educator
Age:  50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001


Question:
We have enjoyed house wrens in our area ( southern Michigan ) for year. They always come back the first week in May. We know they are here when we hear their distinctive song and watch them putting sticks in the ren houses in our yard. This year we have not seen or heard them and are wondering why. The only change that we have noticed is a pair of Coper's hawks nesting in the woods behind us. We know they kill birds but would the wrens somehow sense that they are in the area? We alsohave had Carolina wrens in this area for the past 5 years. We saw them at our feeder all winter and suddenly about the first of March they were gne. They have a loud song so I would know if they were still around. What do you think happened? Thank you for taking my question.


Replies:
Hi,

Several things are of interest that pertain to your question. First of all, for South Michigan, you probably are a bit too early to determine that you do not have wrens about. The male builds a number of homes for the female to chose from and right now (Mid-May), this process is taking place. The home may be somewhere else this year. Make your evaluation around June 1st. However, in my experience, the wrens return to successful nests, if they survived the winter! or migration.

I am not concerned about the hawks, even if Cooper's are bird predators. Wrens are small and fast in flight. They are also very "fluttery" in their movements. Hawks do not have a chance with healthy wrens for wrens can easily out manoeuvre a hawk. I'm sure that occasionally they get lucky. Who is to say that the presence of the hawks is influencing the nesting, but I can not imagine that this is the reason that you do not hear them. Until we can communicate with wrens, the rest is speculation.

Steve Sample


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