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The Marsh Wren's Many Nests

Why so many?

Tiny Marsh Wrens live in wetlands, usually within cattails, reeds, or bulrushes. After choosing his territory, the male weaves up to 15 dome-shaped shells, lashing together cattails, grasses, or reeds. These are called "courting" nests. Then, sitting high atop a perch in the marsh, he sings, inviting a female to select a nest in his territory. once the female has chosen one of his shells, she lines it with cattail down, feathers, leaves, or grass and lays her eggs. Sometimes a second female chooses a nest on the opposite end of his territory.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
The Marsh Wren's Many Nests
 
Written by Idie Ulsh

This is BirdNote.
[Song of Marsh Wren]
Imagine a man, in wooing a mate, needing to frame and cover four, ten, or even fifteen houses before his intended chooses the one she likes, and he wins her over. That is precisely what the male Marsh Wren must do!
Tiny Marsh Wrens live in wetlands, usually within cattails, reeds, or bulrushes. After choosing his territory, the male weaves several dome-shaped shells, lashing together cattails, grasses, or reeds. These are called “courting” nests. Then, sitting high atop a perch in the marsh, he sings his sewing machine-like song, inviting a female to select a nest in his territory.
[Song of Marsh Wren]
Once the female has chosen one of his shells, she lines it with cattail down, feathers, leaves, or grass and lays her eggs.
Sometimes a second female chooses a nest on the opposite end of his territory.
Attracting mates and confusing predators make all the male’s work worthwhile.
When you’re near a marsh this time of year, listen for the Marsh Wren’s “sewing machine” song.
[Song of Marsh Wren]
In the meantime, you can see great photos of a Marsh Wren – and his nests – by nature photographer Idie Ulsh.  Go to our website, birdnote.org.
                                                                               ###
Songs of Marsh Wren provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by K.J.Colver and by G.A. Keller
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org          May 2011     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#     MAWR-03-2011-05-01


 

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