Those Pesky Wrens!

[I apologize for the poor quality of these photos. They are included not so much for any artistic or ornithological value but simply as illustration for the narrative.]

What is it about small birds and RV campsites? In a post last year (Campsite Chickadee Nest), I described a chickadee nest inside the mounting post for our campsite’s electrical box at Indian Creek Recreation Area. This month, during a two-day visit to nearby Chicot State Park, we had a similar but more annoying nesting experience with a couple of wrens.

While eating breakfast in our travel trailer on our first morning at Chicot, we were staring out the window, anticipating new adventures. Soon we noticed that two Carolina Wrens were repeatedly landing on the mounting post of the electrical box at our campsite. Each time one of the wrens landed, it had a leaf or twig in its mouth. Shortly thereafter, it would fly up above our window to a destination we could not see. We assumed they must be building a nest on a tree branch somewhere above the trailer.

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Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO2000)
Carolina Wren about to fly to nesting site

Later, we exited the trailer to look for the potential nest and quickly realized it was much closer to us than we had imagined. The wrens had chosen the air conditioner on the roof of our trailer to be their “bird box.”

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Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO250)
Waiting for mate to emerge from air conditioner shroud

 

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Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO100)
Coming and going

Not wanting this construction project to go any further, we turned on the AC fan and were pleased to notice that it kept the wrens away from our campsite as we packed for the morning’s outdoor activities. The fan was left running until we returned for lunch, at which time the wrens were nowhere to be found. We left the fan off all afternoon and evening and never saw the wrens again that day.

Problem solved, right? No, indeed! The next morning at breakfast time, the wrens showed up again and resumed their nesting project in our AC unit. Their second efforts were short-lived, however, because we left for home that morning.

We really should not have been surprised by this persistent nesting behavior. Carolina Wrens have continually nested at the same location inside our carport at home for the last dozen years in spite of vehicles arriving and leaving right beneath them.

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The location from which these photos were taken is shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.


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