Our social distancing has given me the opportunity to do extended watching of activity in and around my deck. Sitting quite comfortably in a "zero gravity" lawn chair with binoculars at hand I’ve made this observation.  Years ago John Thoren gave me a gift of two Blue Bird Houses which I hung from a large white pine tree and a very old, gnarled,  black cherry tree, knowing full well that it was the the wrong situation to attract Blue Birds who more regularly frequent meadows.   Thus, the two houses remained unoccupied, near as I could tell, for several years - until now.  

    A family of House Wrens have taken up residence in one of the Blue Bird Houses, the one on the cherry tree near my deck and my “zero gravity” lawn chair. I say "House Wrens" but I’m not secure in this taxonomy.  One of the Wrens perched on a branch quite close to me and I noticed a perpendicular tail.  I consulted my Peterson’s and the photograph showed a Marsh Wren not a House Wren.  I’m doubtful because there is no marsh in the immediate area except some wet spots at the edge of my pond, and Fairfield Swamp is about a mile away.

   Now that I’ve set the scene here’s my observation.  My new Canadian designed bird feeder, with a sliding cage closing off access to the sunflower seeds, supposedly activated by the  weight of a marauding squirrel, hangs just a few feet from my deck.  I watch the constant traffic of various species - Goldfinches, Purple Finches, Tufted Titmouse, Chickadees,Rosy Breasted Grosbeaks and the most aggressive, Hairy Woodpeckers - male and female.  They almost literally bounce back and forth between the feeder and the scruffy cherry tree where they batter away at the flaky bark for insects - not far from the Wren’s confiscated Blue Bird House.  I’ve seen the Wrens beating off the Woodpeckers in a mismatched avian dog-fight - the Wren being one third the size of the Hairy Woodpeckers.

    I seem to have all the time in the world for sitting quietly and actively watching.


Al Salzman


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