I expected by now the philodendron would have filled my pineapple planter right outside the front door and its tendrils would be dripping over the sides. Not so. Things changed when a couple of house wrens decided to create their cup-sized nest in the planter. Unknowingly, those perky songbirds set up a situation – a situation that required a decision. Thriving philodendron or a wren’s nest?
The little wren was so busy gathering twigs and straw, singing all the while, and I was fascinated to watch that nest take shape. Decision made—this whole wren thing was just too interesting, and the philodendron would have to fend for itself. I had such appreciation for what that mother wren was doing until I learned it is the male wren who builds the nest. While the male is working so hard, the female is just out having herself a flying-around good time until she succumbs to the male bird’s song. When she chooses him, he takes her to visit several nesting sites where he has started construction. That could be as many as ten places where he has marked his territory.
Is it any surprise that it is the female who makes the final decision about the nest? After her decision is made, she finishes off making the interior of the nest comfortable for herself. She lines the back of the nest with grass and with spider egg sacs. Amazing! She knows that once hatched, the spiders will eat the mites in the nest. Then when she is ready, she will lay one egg a day until she has laid five or six eggs.
Well, we have a nest and five eggs, and now this little soprano sits nestled into the back of that nest quite comfortably. And I thought my mama was good at scolding–not so much as this little fluff of feathers if my curiosity gets me too close.
I can imagine in thirteen or fourteen days when those eggs hatch, the leathery green philodendron leaves will have shriveled. And if not then, certainly in another two weeks without water so I don’t drown the young, the shrinking vine will be all that’s left. I consoled myself by rooting some more philodendron to put in the planter when the birds fly away to do what it is that wrens do.
Would that we protected our unborn and our young like this mother wren! She seems quite content in her mothering. Can’t wait to watch her teach her babies how to fly. I’ll keep you posted.