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Malicious Melodies

Monday, July 2, 2007

Wherever there are cattails, you’ll hear the windup-toy song of the marsh wren. It’s much more melodious than the dry, ticking song of the sedge wren. Like some other wren species, (think house wren), marsh wren males build several “dummy nests,” perhaps to show the female their nest-building and territory-holding prowess. They sing and posture next to the nests, and eventually a female will select one to line and lay her eggs in.
Marsh wrens share a bad habit with house wrens, piercing and throwing out eggs in other birds’ nests.

I wouldn’t do that.Yes you would.

Whether they’re trying to eliminate competition for food on their territories, or just being narsty, marsh wrens will go into red-winged and yellow-headed blackbird nests and throw the eggs out. Hmmph. Carolina wrens are much better neighbors. They build one nest and stick to it, and they don't bother anyone else's eggs.

Boy, are marsh wrens cute, though, straddling the stalks and winding up their song, a feast for the eye and ear. Springy little things. Wrens are pure bird spirit.
These were photographed along Pipestem Creek near Pingree, North Dakota, on a pellucid June day, in good company.

Chet Baker was a perfect gentleman today, in case you're wondering. He had one more episode of uppitiness yesterday and I rolled him on his back and pinned him down and Darthed him good. Tonight, he waited in the car while we were at a restaurant and, courtesy of Liam, there was a bag with a cheeseburger in it on the back seat, wide open, and he didn't even touch it. Didn't even need to warn him not to mess with it. Now that's a good boy.
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