365 Nature – Day 98

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


When we got home yesterday from school we had an exciting surprise in our backyard; the Bewick’s Wrens were building a nest in our nest box. I had noticed them at the nest box back on Day 94 but I hadn’t seen them anywhere near it since then – despite my near constant surveillance. I thought perhaps they had decided it was not a worthy place for a nest after all, so I was very happy to see them making regular trips into the box with nesting materials in their beaks. For most of the afternoon I checked on them and watched them going in and out of the box.

This morning when we got up the first thing I did was check on the box and though I didn’t see them as active as yesterday, they were still a constant presence around the box. I decided to clean the outside of our windows this morning because I was having a hard time watching them and as I worked outside the wrens flitted around the yard gathering materials and going in and out of the box again. We decided to have our lunch out back and although we sat less than ten feet away from the nest box, they still came and went with materials. It was a treat to watch them so close up. I was glad to see they were making use of the Fireweed seeds I had left out after cleaning up this spring.

We also watched them from inside the house, one was hopping on the window ledge, just a few inches away from us, gathering spider webs. At one point one of the wrens brought back a piece of plastic, but after some examining, I was glad to see it dropped it and didn’t take it into the box. It’s been quite entertaining watching them come back with long branches and trying to get them into the hole. Most of the time the branches get dropped outside the nest box after they give up.

Twice I’ve seen Black-capped Chickadees at the same nest box. They haven’t gone inside, but each visit they have sat at the perch for quite a long time and looked around. I’ve waited for the wrens to return and a fight to begin, but the chickadees departed before the wrens returned both times.

This is the first bird nest we’ve had in our boxes and it’s very exciting. We have two more boxes up and I have one more in the garage I haven’t mounted onto a base yet, but this is a very exciting start. We’ve had the two boxes out for a couple of springs now, but no birds have used them. This year the Indian Plum has grown up tall enough to provide shelter for the front of the box and I’m wondering if that made it more desirable. I’m looking forward to watching these wrens coming and going over the next few weeks.

Over the last few days I’ve also heard a repeated crow caw from a tree near our house. I’m wondering if it’s a female on her nest. It sounds like a broken record, caw on repeat every five seconds or so. I noticed when other crows fly by cawing, it goes quiet until they pass.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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