Wrath of the Wrens
Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer
The songbirds are back! Isn’t it wonderful? I don’t
know how long songbirds live — certainly not long enough — but I can
attest that those cute little wrens are apparently quite long-lived. Or
else, they pass along all their knowledge to their descendants.
Here’s how I know: For the past five years, at least, I
have three little wrens who have “adopted” me, I like to think. I think that
because, if I don’t, then I have to think they’ve got it in for me, for some
Perhaps the reason is this: Birdseed is expensive. When
my budget took a hit about five years back, I decided to delete birdseed
from my shopping list. What I was really doing, I realized, was feeding
voracious squirrels and deer.
Every day, I’d fill the feeders with birdseed. And every
morning, every seed would be gone, except for those discarded on the ground.
Sometimes, even the ground was picked clean. One night I looked out the
kitchen window, and saw a deer with his head cocked at an odd angle, sucking
all the seed out of the feeders. And every morning, I’d glance outside and
see a family of squirrels hanging upside down, vacuuming seed out of the
The morning I looked outside and saw a fat little
chipmunk actually sitting inside the feeder, with a happy smile on his tiny
face, was the morning I decided, the heck with birdseed.
I’m probably not supposed to do this — there may be a law
against it for all I know — but if I have strawberry hulls, I toss them
outside near the old bird feeder, rather than throw them in the trash. The
same goes with those shreds of cereal that always end up at the bottom of
the bag. Hey, I figure, it’s grain; isn’t that something birds like?
No matter what I toss outside
after fixing dinner
— bad blueberries, strawberry hulls, stale
biscuits crumbled into bits — it is gone the next morning. Apparently, my
backyard is some sort of roadside feeding station for creatures large and
small. I guess that’s my fault.
For this reason, Brownie does not have a doggie door. I
can only imagine the ensuing melee, should that raccoon family I know is out
there discover a welcoming entry into the kitchen. I have no idea how I’d
shoo them out if they did invade. I don’t want to become the laughingstock
of the sheriff’s office, should I have to call for help late some evening.
Actually, one night years ago, I heard very disturbing
sounds right outside my bedroom window. It woke me up. It was an odd,
fear-inducing sound I’d never heard before. That night, I did call the
sheriff’s office. Turns out, a doe was giving birth under the tree outside
my bedroom window.
I can only hope this incident occurred long enough ago
that the deputy is retired and becoming quite forgetful by now. Who knows?
It might be part of deputy lore. Ergo, I do not want to create another
anecdote by inviting marauding raccoons inside the house.
Every now and then, I pass a dead raccoon on the highway
near my driveway. I always feel a little sad, and wonder, “Is that one of my
Anyway, back to the wrens. I can’t imagine how, but they
have discovered a way to get onto my screened porch. Then, they dart and fly
madly about, hitting all the screens in a fervent effort to get back
I go out and prop open the porch door. And then I wait.
When I don’t notice them
flitting around anymore, I close the door again. That
This morning, I heard the loud chirping of songbirds.
“My, they’re close,” I thought.
And when I looked out on the screened porch, there they
were: Not just the one wren who repeatedly comes inside and then yearns to
get out; no. This time, he’d brought a buddy along.
There’s another little wren — may well be the same one —
who spends the night right outside my back door. If I so much as venture to
the garbage can, he screeches loudly and dive-bombs me. I am now wary of
even leaving the house by that door.
Ah, if I could only outsmart a songbird. But apparently,
I cannot even be called “bird-brained.” Sigh.
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