Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Bump in My Begonia

One morning mid-July I stepped out onto our deck and noticed a bump in my potted begonia.

It was solid yet spongey, made of twigs, leaves, little bits of light green moss, and a small scrap of candy wrapper.

At first I thought something was wrong with the plant. 

But as I stepped away, a small nutmeg-colored wren swooped in with bits of dried grass in her beak. For the next few minutes, she and her mate brought in materiel to complete their domed nest.

These sweet little Carolina Wrens had chosen a spot not 15 feet from my back door for their second nesting of the season. Location, location, location. 

Over the next day or two, they worked diligently making their summer home cozy and waterproof. It even had a little porch for them to step on before entry or exit. 

Domed nest complete with front porch, sleeps four to six.

Shortly, the female laid her first egg. The next day, a second egg. And so on until there was a clutch of four.

A clutch of four Carolina Wren eggs

Not more than 48 hours afterwards I caught one of the parents singing to high heaven as if to say "Look at us! Look at us! We've done something fabulous!"

She and he took turns guarding their babies, and after two weeks the little chicks hatched.
Two of the four chicks. Those straight yellow lines? Those are the beaks. 

At first they were nothing more than pulsating fluff but day by day they grew as mother and father brought nurturing food. 

Bringing home the bacon. Or bug. 

Within 10 days the chicks' eyes opened and their parents called out to them from a nearby tree. It was time.

Still mostly fluff but the yellow outlined-beak is apparent.
 Gingerly,  the chicks made their way to the front porch to see what all the fuss was about.

The first two chicks get ready to leave their domed nest.

And within another day, all four had fledged and flown away. 

It didn't take more than a month for the entire process to play out before my watchful eye, but I was transfixed. And flattered. Of all the places in this beautiful countryside to raise their children, this Carolina couple chose close to our home. 

There is nothing left now but the bump in my begonia. And a warm reminder of continued life.

Singing it, loud and proud!


An October Epilogue: 

Now that the begonia is done for the season, I was finally able to extract the wrens' nest from the planter. Such lovely work they did!