When we moved into our house over ten years ago, one of the first things I did in the spring was to set up a birdhouse. I got it up rather late in the season, so I didn't have much hope anyone would move in, but that April a house wren took it over and made it his own. He put a lot of work into it. Our reward was seeing the wren and his mate raise their young that summer.
We've gone through several birdhouses since that first year in our home. Some years the wren would use it, some years he would simply fill it with nesting material but raise his young somewhere else. It's a peculiarity of the house wren. They tend to hog the birdhouses, even throwing nesting material over other birds eggs. They like to set up several nests to impress a mate, then she chooses which one will be used.
This year, a chickadee tried to take the birdhouse. I was excited to see someone different nesting. Chickadees are around all winter, so technically he had first dibs on the new house I had set up in the autumn.
That did not sit well with the house wren. Now it is likely that this is not the original wren, but it might be a descendant of the one who first nested with us. I should look up what their life expectancy is. At any rate, I'm sure our young oak tree has been in their family for generations, and the wren wanted to keep it that way. When he returned in April, his song filled our bedroom, but he wasn't singing for pleasure. He was mad. We watched for days as he hectored the chickadee. Keep in mind, the chickadee is slightly larger than the house wren. The chickadee would fly out of the birdhouse and attack him, but the wren simply continued his rant. I felt sorry for him, so I tried to calm them by hanging extra houses, but they meant nothing to my ornery little friend. Location, location, location. That oak tree had been his, and he was not going to give it up without a fight. Or two.
Just when we thought the chickadee had settled in, Sierra spotted the wren flying in and out of the house, singing his heart out. We aren't sure how he had managed to take it over, but now there was no sign of the chickadee. The wren sent him packing.
Which leads to another life lesson from watching animals....
Sometimes you have to fight for what is yours, even if it's not.