At the end of March, two Carolina wrens built a nest in the wreath on our front porch. It was there for a week with no residents. Then one morning, the mom was in the nest, sitting quietly. I watched her for two weeks. Every now and then, I’d look in at her. She’d look back at me as if to say, “Nothing yet.”

(At that point, my cats were officially not allowed to go outside.)

Then the babies hatched. And I watched them for about two more weeks, being as careful as I could not to make any noise whenever I walked by. There were five babies in all.

After about 14 days, they had little beards and lots of fuzz. I could tell they were ready for the big world.

In my last post, I wrote about blowing off an entire day to sit by my front door and watch these wrens leave their nest. I sat there just watching the parents feed them. I had my digital camera, and I happened to catch them at the very moment they left for good. There were four wrens at this point, and my camera ran out of space before I could catch the last two birds leaving. (This wasn’t a movie camera. I was just using the “movie” setting on my digital camera.)

The two birds here went first. And right after they flew, the other two came right out of the nest, like clowns coming out of a VW. They leapt off the wreath pretty quickly. I saw them all twice in my yard the next day, still getting flight lessons from their parents. But I haven’t seen them since. So many of you have written to tell me your own stories about baby birds. And lots of you have asked about how these little guys were doing. This is a gift for you!

This is my first attempt at creating a movie on my computer. I hope you enjoy it in spite of the fact that I was filming behind a glass door!

39 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Norma

    We just said good-bye to our little wrens yesterday. Bitter sweet. This video brought tears to my eyes. Watching the family go through the entire process was absolutely amazing. So much love in such little creatures. I wish our babies a safe and loving life. We miss them already. Love your video…made me cry.

  • Erin

    I came across your post as I was searching for answers to whether my wrens would come back one more time. I was lucky enough to have watched them build the next, stay with their eggs, get pictures of the baby birds, and watch them hop from the next and flit around the yard. Mama and papa are very good, attentive parents. Four of five eggs hatched and all four hopped out of the next. It was a great experience for me. I was happy to find your blog and see that someone else was as enthralled as I was with this little miracle.

  • Theresa

    Hi…I have a nest right now on my back deck. They are inside a sombrero I have hanging from the ceiling. It’s very cute. But I am worried about when they start to emerge. I hear them chirping when the mama and papa bird arrive with food. But haven’t seen any of them yet.
    I have a small dog who doesn’t bother with the birds, but a small one on the floor might get his attention. I hope it all works out.

  • sue fink ( uk )

    Hi. I have just watched my baby Wren’s leave the nest but it was one flurry of birds all 5or 6 babies leaving together. I have been guarding the nest for 2 weeks or so , cats inside … well and truley grounded and then this morning I could hear the Mother really going mad so I went downstairs to see what was wrong. Another second and I would have missed it. A bird appeared at the nest hole and then woosh……. out they all came and flew off.I would have been devastated if I had mised it.I’m 100 % sure the Mum was calling me to come because she flew in and out all the time when I was in the garden and I’m sure she knew I was looking after them with her.

  • Michelle Speedy

    Nice video footage. I found your video searching online about wren nests. A momma wren has laid 5 eggs and four have hatched. My 3 and 4 year old boys have been having the time of their life watching the entire process. I hope they get to see the little birds leave their nest like you captured on your beautiful video. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pam Martin

    I had a cheap little bird house I bought really for looks, hanging in a little tree, next thing I know there is a nest & a precious House Wren singing away, going in & out, next I hear babies, the Birds are feeding every minute a big fat worm. I was so afraid this little house wasn’t going to stay together because I had to glue it last year & it fell from the tree. I used twine & duck tape to secure the house. I worried because I have an outside cat. Well, on Memorial day, I went out & found a baby in the Monkey grass, saw one on the fence, the parents were going crazy. I didn’t know what to do, my cat was asleep in the front yard at the time thank God. I picked up one off the ground & held it in my hand, so tiny, Wasn’t sure if it was too soon or what to do, saw one fly to a little tree next door. I told my neighbors, they saw 4 of them in their yard, anyway, they are gone, I sure hope they are okay, not sure what happens, if the parents guide them & feed them, or what?? It was the first experience for me, I cry about it, it was special, holding that one was a gift for sure. 🙂

    Pam

  • Sue Ann

    We just had our first experience with a wren nest. They built it inside my begonia flower pot on our front porch, right next to our front door. Discovered it after a bird flew out and scared me, as I watered my plant a few weeks ago. There were 5 eggs and they hatched a couple of weeks ago. Our 18 month old granddaughter, Alexis, loved seeing the birds every time she came over. They took their first flight today. How fun it was to watch them be brave. Hope they continue to come back. So fun.

  • Nan

    Wonderful ! Thanks for the look. I didn’t get to see “my” babies fly from their nest in my hanging porch, but I feel so blessed to have seen them fed by their parents. Only hope there will be another brood next season.

  • sonal paolello

    loved this so much – I’ve just had a very similar experience and can’t believe how incredibly moved I am – my little family just had thier first experience out of the nest today and I’m loving every minute of what I see. Wish I thought to capture like you did – thank you!

  • Sandy Wold

    I just watched 4 carolina wrens leave the nest on my front porch after being crowded for days in the nest.I have watched them grow from babies to fledglings ,and they just took off in flight to tall pine trees above my house.Their nest was under the porch in a roman column space so I could view them everyday from the front door window.I was worried what would happen to them so I went online and found your wonderful story so I now know they will be looked after by the mother ,who came constantly to feed them everyday.Thank you for your story as it relieved me to know that nature will take care of itself…

  • Chris

    Christine,

    We to have wrens just starting their second year of nesting in a huge metal rooster given to us by a friend. The rooster looks and is as heavy as a trojan horse standing four feet tall. They love it in there because no other bird or animal can get to them or get in the opening. We do not move the rooster ever, so they know were it is every year. It’s great seeing the babies come out and watch the mother and father teach them right in front of us on the porch, before they are off. We think it might be the original parents or this time the babies. Keep up the good work. We are waiting and looking forwards to the next family to arrive.

    -Chris & Holly

  • Caralu

    I once had a nesting in the eaves of my front porch, and experienced the same sense of stewardship and delight – I felt truly honored that the birds in question chose MY porch to raise their babes…it was a joyful day when they took their first flight, and a little sad, too….would you call it poignant? Thanks for sharing the experience and for posting the footage.

  • tre

    you write so often about being present in the moment.
    i learned to do this a while ago. your writings are the reminder…your video the evidence of the treasure in each moment. i’m so gently persuaded to think of how the mother bird’s ability to ‘let go’ weighs in here much too…she’s not clinging for them to hang out for a little while…in fact wants them, encourages them to be what they’re here to be: wrens…so for me the message therein: how to be that innocent explorer and press on as I must….how to be all that I am…nudged on by that presence of Mother Love that is my constant advocate and encourager…
    (tickled you mentioned it was a movie option on your cam….have been thinking ‘camera or video cam?” maybe there is a way to do both. 🙂
    you’re nudgin me too to see the impact of visuals and sound w/ the bloggin….almost wanna aim to do all 3 each time! 🙂 went to wildflower music fest in richardson last sat…heard ‘america’ and ‘the guess who’ and i thought “hmm..wonder if these dudes blog about their gigs?” 🙂 thank you! for this entry. a real gift…..hugs and smiles, tre 🙂

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks all y’all (that’s how we say it in North Carolina!) You’re WAY too kind about my filming talents – but hey, thanks! I miss these little tykes now. But the wreath has come down (I Googled it, and it turns out that only occasionally do wrens return to the same nest.) Just to remind you, Ken Bonfield’s music is on iTunes. Get the album “Mystic Morning” if you liked this tune. It’s great!

  • Irene

    Christine,
    Thank you! It is a beautiful gift to share with us. It was great to listen to beautiful music as well.

  • Amy

    Hi Christine,

    That was just precious. And the music really set the mood; I was getting a little misty-eyed watching the babies leave. My favorite was the baby asking for more food before heading out.

    We’ve been enjoying hummingbirds, goldfinches, red-breasted grosbeaks, along with blue jays, red winged blackbirds, and numerous woodpeckers. This weekend our neighborhood owl, Shakespeare, announced his return. (Yes, we give names to some of the locals.)

    Here is to the wonders of nature!

    -Amy

  • Kathy

    Christine – how cute was that?! You have another career budding in my opinion!! We love our birds in Columbia County. David is the caretaker. For a couple of years running, we had a little nest up in a sagging soffit before our renovations. It was amazing to watch mom and dad go in and out to feed and protect. We loved listening to their peeps and cheeps! For little guys, they were awfully hungry!! We didn’t have as good a view as you did though so we missed their momentous exit day. Thanks for sharing yours!!

  • Michelle

    nature is so truly amazing if we can slow down enough to observe it. I think birds are one of the sweetest animals, especially as babies. I saw an amazing segment last night on 60-Minutes about a whole rainforest in Indonesia full of unique birds.

  • jer

    you should totally submit this to cuteoverload.com 🙂

  • Doug C.

    Hi Christine. Great blog. This reminds me of last summer when me and my folks were sitting out in their yard watching the construction guys across the road plow under all the trees for the new duplexes. This always makes my heart sink and I recall a remark of Thoreau’s, “”A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

    So there we were sitting in the yard when all of a sudden we hear this loud ratcheting sound and out of nowhere comes this gorgeous white-neck Kingfisher. He landed on the tall pole the construction guy had put in the ground to mark the property line and just starts letting them have it. We were all excited because you rarely see Kingfishers and in fact none of us had ever seen one at all, although we knew they were around.

    After yelling at the construction guys he dove straight down and disappeared below the bank on the other side of the road. He flew back out a moment later and took off over our heads toward the lake behind us. He returned a short time later with a large minnow in his mouth, perched on the pole for a bit (still yelling at the disruption), and then dove into the bank again.

    We realized he had a nest right below the bank and we were beside ourselves with exhilaration. Rarely to see a Kingfisher, but to be witness to one feeding it’s young was truly a blessing. Alarmed that the construction would destroy him and his family we walked over across the road, flagged down the construction guys, and told them what was happening. They talked amongst themselves then one of the guys came forward and said they would halt any work around the sand bank until his young were out of the nest.

    For the next three weeks we would sit in the yard and watch him fly back and forth and I would always smile, thinking how one small bird could stop progress in its tracks. Thoreau would have been proud.

  • Caren

    Thanks so much, Christine. I’m all verklempt.

    Wait – can a Southern girl use that term? 🙂

    When I first started watching, I was at the verge of having to stop: It’s too much! Too beautiful, and real! Like having to look away from the light. Glad I hung in there.

    Love the baby bird: M-O-O-O-O-O-O-M! And she pops some food in there.

    Add videographer to your resume!

  • zach

    It’s a neat little video. What it really needs, though, is a soft-voiced narrator. Possibly with a British accent. All, “Here we see the young wrens preparing to leave their nest. This is a truly remarkable moment to witness…” and so on. Maybe I just watched too many nature programs back in school.

  • Valaine

    Beautiful 🙂 Thankyou for sharing.

  • Colleen

    Thanks Christine, that was beautiful – a great way for me to start the day. I remember spending a whole day watching the antics of four peewees in my tall eucalypt – – how the parents enticed their babies to be brave and how the last one needed extra encouragement and in fact didn’t leave until the following day when the parents stopped feeding it in the nest. It would take one step out, then become afraid and go back into the nest, this went on for hours. Eventually with heaps of encouragement from the parents and siblings, it left. I cheered to see nature at work.

    Thank you for sharing some of the life that goes on hour by hour in this great world we share.

  • Patricia

    Ah, to have the faith of those little birds. Thanks Christine, that was really lovely.

  • barb b

    beautiful film. congrats. barb

  • Petra

    I can’t believe I cried when I watched this! That was beautiful.

  • Mackie

    The birds don’t know for sure that their wings will work, or that the world is safe out there…yet they are brave and take that first step anyway…not even knowing if a net will appear! 😉 This was beautifully done, Christine. Thanks for sharing. Oh, some days to be a baby bird…

  • Christine Kane

    mark – yea, she did time that quite well, didn’t she? 🙂

    amy – my advice is to blow off everything to watch them leave the nest. this film is only one part of the day. I saw so much amazing stuff with how the parents sang to them, and flew all around them once they were out of the nest and skidding all over my front porch area. it was beautiful.

    Thanks Matthew! (I just wish I had a better movie camera!)

    sue – it brings tears to my eyes everytime I watch them. yes, nature is so great. (and we also have to remember how powerful it is, even in these fragile little beings.)

    elaine – no calls from animal planet yet. it’s only a matter of time, i’m sure! I’m not sure if the parents return. I should google that. (I was sort of hoping to take the wreath down now cuz it’s my winter wreath!) But now that you mention this – i may have to forego the idea of seasonal decor!

    thanks imelda!

  • Elaine

    P.P.s. …as a wildlife camera woman that is!!!

  • Imelda/GreenishLady

    What a wonderful thing to get to witness! Thank you for taking the time to watch, to film it, and to share it with us.

  • Elaine

    How beautiful! You must have had an amazing day watching them.

    Hey no end to your talents – now a wildlife photographer! 😉 Thanks for sharing these moments. How wonderful that you could get so close to them. Will Mom and Dad nest again this year? You might end up being able to watch it all again! The music is lovely too.(

    P.s. I’ll look out for you on Animal Planet!)

  • Sue

    Thanks so much for sharing this moment with us! It brought tears to my eyes. Nature is amazing. So glad you were there, and ‘there’ enough to capture this. Great thing to wake up to on a sunny Sunday morning 🙂

  • Matthew Murphy

    Very thoughtful post, Christine! Not many people would have given this spectacle the attention that you did. Thank you for letting us share this with you.

    Cheers,

    Matthew Murphy

  • Amy

    Thanks for sharing. I have a robin’s nest right outside my front door – there are two eggs there the mother is sitting on. I’m excited to see the babies and watch their progress just like you did with your wrens.

  • Mark

    What a nice thing to wake up to, Christine, thanks. (That little birdy had great timing too – she flew off just as the music ended!)

    What a great experience that must have been for you.

  • Christine Kane

    mokana – that song is by my friend Ken. The album is called “mystic morning” and the whole thing is great. thanks for the note!

    thanks rodney! it was an incredible moment. i wish i could’ve captured the sound of their parents singing to them the entire time – and the sound of their little “peeps” as they clung to the wreath!

  • AussieRodney

    Christine,

    You’ve done well to capture them.

    Rodney.

  • MOKANA

    Well done girl! Well done! I play the guitar as well and it is gentle on the soul to listen and watch such things.

    MOKANA