[Tweeters] Wren Roosting and other Bird Notes

Lee Rentz lee at leerentz.com
Mon Mar 4 13:49:21 PST 2013

I wrote several weeks ago about a Pacific Wren roosting in our still green Christmas wreath near the front door. Well, it's still at it. Every night, it arrives at deep twilight, enters the same little grotto in the wreath, then perches quietly all night. If we go out at night and pass the wreath without stopping, the wren will stay put, and to an extent it has gotten used to our occasional evening comings and goings, even though we walk about two feet from it. We've heard a wren calling and seen one foraging in the yard several times lately, and assume it is the same one. I don't read much about roosting behavior, and I didn't realize that an individual would use the same roost site each night. The porch light doesn't seem to bother it at all, though if I shine a flashlight on the wreath, the bird gets agitated, and has flown several times.

We have three Wood Duck boxes along the lake, and two nights ago at about 5:00 p.m., I observed two Northern Flickers separately entering two of nest boxes. There are using the boxes for a night roost. Now, however, there is a pair of Wood Ducks that are apparently getting ready for the nesting season, so I expect a battle for the boxes shortly. Today the Wood Ducks were on the deck eating sunflower seeds.

Yesterday morning I put out whole peanuts for the Steller's Jays and Douglas Squirrel. The squirrel has been interesting this year; some mornings it sits atop a branch where the jays often sit in the morning, looking toward the house and thinking longingly of peanuts. It has gotten frustrated with the jays of late; yesterday it frantically ran all around a cherry tree for several minutes, chasing the jays that were going after the peanuts. Other times, it has created a more effective strategy, which involves digging a deep hole in the planter boxes. When the peanuts arrive, it quickly grabs a peanut and runs to place it in the planter box hole; then runs back to the feeder and gets another peanut (competing with the jays), and runs back to the temporary hole. When all the peanuts are gone from the feeder, it then transports each peanut from the temporary hole to its permanent storage facility, which hopefully is not in our attic (though it has been at times). This strategy is really interesting, because it implies that the squirrel is able to think about the future, perhaps beyond mere instinct.

This morning I went outside into the sunshine, and heard the croak of a Raven. It was high atop a Douglas Fir, and was being mobbed by noisy Crows. This was the first time I have seen a Raven at our home in 22+ years of living here.

My wife reported this morning from the ramp of the Bremerton ferry to Seattle. For the third day in the last week, there was a hawk perched on the ferry dock equipment. She and several others were talking about it, and they think it is a Merlin, but she doesn't have binoculars on her way to work. One morning, the bird zoomed off its perch toward some of the noisy songbirds that roost and nest near the ramp.

Lee Rentz
Shelton, WA
lee at leerentz.com

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