A little winter refuge

Carolina wren

That’s a basket that has hung on my back porch for years.  I used to keep a couple garden tolls in it. The front handle has disintegrated but the rest of it’s ok.  If the rest of it starts to come apart, I’ll have to replace it with something similar, cos it has become a very important basket.

That funny looking thing is a piece of root from a plant called angelica that I raised several years ago.  I always left it in there cos it’s interesting looking. Then there’s a sensor for an indoor/outdoor thermometer, on the porch to keep it out of winter weather.

It’s what’s down inside the basket that’s so important.  For the last couple winters, 2 Carolina wrens have been sleeping in the basket overnight, and sometimes during the day when it’s been really cold. In the fall I saw both the birds, and lately I’ve only been seeing one at a time.  I’m hoping that’s just because they’re so busy hunting food, and that one hasn’t died.

I call her “she”, even tho she might be a male, or hopefully, both are still here.  But she’s so cute, she just needs to be referred to as she.  Anyway, she has a bunch of leaves down in there for insulation; kind of a nest. The angelica root might help some with that too. A couple weeks ago when we were expecting a real cold spell, I took an old dish cloth and put it down in there, leaving 2 corners stick up so I could see them.  By the next morning, the 2 corners were gone: she had rearranged the cloth down into the basket.

She sits on the edge of the porch before she goes in the basket; I imagine so no other birds see her going in.  Right off the porch is my little patio, where I keep seeds out all winter. In the tree 10′ away, are two hangers with suet blocks in them.  All the birds hit those hard, for fat, to help to keep their high metabolism going when it’s so cold. So “she”, they, I hope, have food right there and a place to go to get out of the snow/rain/sleet,  and the porch roof overhead. And since it’s close to the house it should get a little heat from the house.  Not much, but when it’s 10 degrees at night, every little bit would help.

I have no idea where all these other birds could go for refuge from falling weather or the cold.  It’s brutal here in the winter.  But 2 (I  hope) little birds benefit from a basket under a porch, out of the snow, and they know that they don’t get bothered much by this big human, cos I’m very careful not to disturb them.

If I’m around the kitchen a while before dusk, I can see her get some suet, wait on the edge of the porch, and then fly up into her winter home.  It makes me smile.

15 responses to “A little winter refuge

  1. Birds used to come and go through my home when I lived in town. Pigeons sometimes tried to nest in the kitchen, and two unidentified small birds raised a family in the shower. I suppose I kept too many houseplants.

      • The doors were usually closed. The birds came in through the windows that stayed open from spring until autumn. Fortunately, the birds in the shower relocated before the weather got cool. The finches had a huge party in my home, and I was not even invited. I will write about it eventually.

      • Everyone who could fly and get in there was in there at one time or another, including a mentally challenged squirrel who would not stay outside. I could not figure out how he kept coming back, because he could not fly. He was such a mooch, and always wanted whatever I was eating. At my next home, Timmy the baby buck moved into my home, and would not leave. I will write about it eventually.

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