To the editor:
For several years, I have looked forward each spring to seeing again (likely) the same pair of house wrens that has chosen to nest in a birdhouse in our backyard. Normally arriving in late April, after an arduous return migration from Mexico, the little male wren's vibrant song speaks assurances that nature remains persistent at our house in Lawrence.
I took special interest this year in watching them raise their young. Of six tiny eggs laid sometime in mid-June only three hatched, on June 30. I was alerted to their birth when the parents' previously inconspicuous behavior was replaced by constant forays in search of small insects to feed the demanding chicks. This continued literally nonstop for the next two weeks, and I quickly began to admire the intense devotion of the parents even while I was calculating the benefits of having some limited natural pest control.
On Sunday morning, I could tell something in their routine was about to change, because instead of flying directly to the nest hole with a mouthful of insects, the male perched on the house and warbled insistently for about 20 minutes (try that with a mouthful of bugs). Sure enough one of the fledglings eventually emerged from the hole, and after more fatherly encouragement, bravely set wing on its first awkward flight low across the yard and straight into the patient and waiting paws of someone's cat!
Scott W. Campbell,