Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Mother's Work is Never Done

Currently we have seven nestboxes placed on our country property. One is being used by a beautiful Eastern Bluebird couple. They have already raised one successful brood and are in the process of feeding their second crew. Two other nestboxes are occupied by House Wrens. One day, while tending to the fruit trees in the orchard, I noticed a very loquacious wren constantly bringing insects to the nestlings in one of the bird houses. She did not seem to mind my presence so I gathered up my camera and tripod to capture a few photographs of the goings-on at the wren house. My, what a busy parent she is! I observed her tending to the nestlings for about 45 minutes. Fascinated by her parenting skills, I returned the next day and snapped away for another 45 minutes. All the photographs were taken in the middle of the day where harsh sunlight does not make for great images, but I hope you find the series interesting.

Crickets must be plentiful and quite tasty, as I watched the House Wren feed lots of these insects to the nestlings

A Crane fly became the unfortunate prey for one fortunate wren nestling

Disposing of the fecal sac is one of the House Wrens many duties. A fecal sac is a mucous membrane that surrounds the feces of some nesting birds. Having it contained in a sac allows for easier waste removal from the nest.

I observed the wren bring back more spiders to the nest than any other insect

The little wren found lots of Daddy-long-legs to feed to her babies

The adult wren would most often fly to the top of the roof and scan the surrounding area before entering the house with the prey

A real treat, two insects at once!

Another Daddy-long-legs makes for a nutritious meal

I marvel at the variety of insects brought to the tiny, begging nestlings

All that food makes for lots of waste. The parent wren has more poop to dispose of.

Younger nestlings get fed soft-bodied bugs and caterpillars. When they grow larger, hard-shelled insects such as grasshoppers are served.

A leggy snack for one of the hungry nestlings

A mother's work is never done