Nesting Instinct

Our Carolina wrens are back!

A couple of years ago, we noticed a patch of thready Spanish moss in our brass mailbox. The door latch on the box isn’t that tight, so it was hanging down. We thought the moss must have blown in there (we’d had some spring storms) and didn’t think much of it. At least, we didn’t until more things showed up in the box: leaves, withered potato vine, plastic bag shrapnel from a newspaper caught outside during one of our flash monsoons. I suspected pranking teens until one afternoon I peeked in to discover a neatly-shaped cup scooped out of the debris, and eggs a couple of days later.

Each year, there’s that one day leaves show up in the mailbox, to be followed by whatever nesting material is at hand. I thought that day had come a month ago, but the freakish cold (for us) weather in the beginning of April must have upset things. Lo and behold, though, two days ago, a new nest!

It’s amazing how nature adapts. I know in the woods these wrens probably build in knotholes like cartoon birds, but here in the ‘burbs, knotholes aren’t that easy to come by. So the birds make do. In a way, it’s a lot like the inside of Chez mimi–lots of random items swirled together to make a home. It’s not the neatest or prettiest of dwellings, but it’s cozy and gets the job done.

Now if I can just get the letter carrier to stop stuffing the mail in the box and instead put it on the box for the duration!

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