Outdoors Column: A Fancy Birdhouse

My wife’s sister was attending one of those craft shows that sell all sorts of hand-made things a person cannot live without. She spotted a bird house she knew would be perfect for my wife’s birthday. It was one of those fancy ones that are made to look good but not actually perform as a house for birds. It is large enough for a wood duck house and the entry hole is too large for most birds that would nest in a wooden house. It looks good though, and that is all it is designed to do. My wife was thrilled with it and I hung it up on the porch by its decorative hanger.

The fancy bird house was hanging near the front door for less than a day when it was discovered by a wren. A wren will find a cavity and fill it almost to the top to make a nest. They are not real choosey at what the cavity is. I have seen wrens chose the exhaust pipe on my tractor, the leg in a pair of blue jeans hanging on the clothes line, and normal places such as an abandoned woodpecker nest. This little wren thought she had found the perfect place with the new bird house. She started filling up the cavity with sticks, grass, and anything else she could carry. It took the better part of a week working fourteen hours per day to fill up the large box. Since the opening was too large, she also had to arrange sticks at the opening to make it smaller. Proud in her accomplishments, she now perches atop her house and complains loudly when we go in or out of the nearby door.


The fancy birdhouse


One evening last week, the wind started blowing. When the wind comes from the west, we get a wind tunnel effect. The bird house started swinging precariously on its hook. If it fell, it would not do the house a bit of good and would probably be hard on the bird who by this time had quit complaining and gone to bed. My wife and I decided it would be best if I remove the house and placed it on the bench by the door, out of the wind. The transition went well until I set the bird house on the bench. It was then the wren flew out of her house into the darkness, between my legs, and just missed hitting my wife in the head as she sat further down the porch. I am not sure if the little wren found her way back into her nest that night, but the next morning she was on the porch rail complaining loudly when I came out with my coffee. I put the bird house back where she thought it belonged and she seemed happy.

Since that eventful evening, both she and her mate come and go all day long. They never fail to complain when anyone uses their porch but they otherwise seem to enjoy their fancy birdhouse. I think when this pair of birds gets done with it, we will clean it up and make it an indoor decoration.