Sunday, May 05, 2002

The Death of a Wren

A male Carolina Wren has staked out a territory in our urban yard for the last 4 or 5 years. In at least one of those years he was successful in attracting a mate and they built a nest and produced eggs. Throughout the summer months he serenaded all who would listen, both bird and human, with his loud, rolling, 3-note song, which can be characterized as pidaro pidaro pidaro or TWEE pudo TWEE pudo TWEE pudo.

This year, he (I can only assume that it was the same male) arrived on April 21st and immediately proclaimed his presense with his loud and raucous song. It was good to have an old friend return. On May 3rd, I found a dead Carolina Wren on the ground near the bird bath. The carcass was fresh and intact, with no evidence that it had run afoul of a cat or other predator. There were no windows or other obstacles nearby with which it could have collided. I thought maybe it had succumbed to the cool and extremely rainy weather we had earlier in the week. Perhaps it wasn't able to find food. But the smaller and seemingly more vulnerable House Wren survived, so that doesn't make sense. Maybe it was diseased, or infested with parasites, or poisoned with pesticides. Or maybe it just died of old age. It was him, the old friend who enlivened our backyard for the past 5 years, for I have heard no Carolina Wrens singing in the past 3 days. I'm hoping that his territory won't remain vacant for long.

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