At JB's suggestion I hung a green and white kitchen towel on the west end of the shelves for shade, and set a tiny, glass bowl of fresh water in the tub for Mama Wren. I wanted a picture, but they moved ever so slightly and it blurred. I'll paint a picture for your imagination.
The nest was four feet off the ground on a grey metal shelf. Our cats, Schatzie and Madchen, watched, or rather stalked, Mama flying in with food and out with trash. Keeping the cats in the house was challenging; they are slippery when dry, too. I moved everything they could use for a step or spring. When I heard Mama chirping loudly I came outside to see if she was talking to her babies or cussing the cats. Schatzie and Madchen pretended to be unconcerned, but I knew their brains were twisting for when-can-we-have-a-go-at-them? In nature's food chain, birds are free cat food. St. Frances of Assisi, the Patron Saint of animals to the rescue. Protect the birds from the house cats and all other predators. Please and thank you.
The cats were stressing Mama Wren. I couldn't decide if I should move the nest to a higher shelf or not? If she abandoned them, they would starve to death. I put my concern in God's hands and peeked in. Settled on her silent clutch she turned and looked at me but made no effort to leave. In my softest mothering voice I said, "I want to help you to a higher shelf." She kept her eyes on me and didn't fly away. Okay, here goes. Ever so gently I slid the tub off and set it on the top shelf. She stayed on the nest. Thank you One and all.
Not tall enough to see in from the ground, I stood on side-by-side gallon paint cans. The nest was disheveled. Oh no. She must be furious with me. Was I over-mothering? And the chicks aren't moving. Fervent prayers and pleas for them and my forgiveness did not ease my heart or mind.
July 20th three chicks were out of the nest scattered around the tub, as if they'd been tossed. Pitiful. A feather here and there they looked moth eaten. One was stuck under a long-handled spoon. The second was upside down in the corner. The third looked half-dead lying on its side. The question wasn't could they fly, could they live? Mothering. Decisions. Without touching them or the nest, I removed the spoon and water bowl that wasn't an immediate threat, but if they lived, they might stumble in and drown.
We didn't see the mother for two days. I was sick. When I could no longer stand not knowing, I mustered the courage to look in and found the nest even more of a mess. What is she doing? Through my tears I prayed, God, pleeeeaaassssse let them live.
Friday, the 22nd, Mama perched on the rim chirping loudly and with great urgency. Saturday afternoon, I saw a chick on the rim. It lifted off and glided to the back yard crash landing and chirping I did it! First flight. No manual. Wing flapping next lesson. The second chick hopped to the rim, saw me and jumped off crashing nearby and chirping, What did I do wrong? The third panicked and did a suicide jump to the concrete. It skittered away on wobbly feet chirping.
We kept the cats in the house two more days. None of the wrens returned. The nest that had been larger than an ostrich egg with a bay window to the inside of the tub was permanently evacuated. Mama had ripped it apart when her chicks were two weeks old. They had no choice but to go forward.
Today I took the tub down and dumped out the tattered, mess of a nest. The tub is scrubbed and back on the top shelf empty. Thank you God and St. Frances.
2011 Red Convertible Travel Series