I am coming to the opinion that Wren’s don’t give a shit. It is this, that makes them adorable. Any other garden bird could have made this an anthropocentric blog about befriending wildlife. Robin tickling; being trained by a Blackbird to drop food and keep pigeons away while he feasts; setting up a Blue Tit nest cam and following the goings on of the family; or any other series of anecdotes. That, as you would contest, is not birding –active searching.
Like most species Wrens don’t need us, even the ‘put out some Niger seeds now’ finches would be better off without humans. They fly off as soon as you open the door to replenish the feeder, but they come back. Not the Wren. It asks for nothing, so why should it do cartwheels of appreciation the moment you find one picking at the bottom of a hedge? They carry on, dancing as if no-one was watching.
So it was last night. The wind was strong and it bitterly resented seeing bare flesh of face and hands being exposed. Sheltering behind a Gorse bush I planned my next move, but could see no less painful way back than into the wind. There was some Wren chatter in the nearby clumps of long grass and sedge; plenty of chatter but nothing to see. Nothing to see until one popped into the Gorse bush next to me. It picked around down to a metre from my face before disappearing. Then a second, and a third, all of which gave me the beady eye stare that underlined the lack of significance of me in their world. They disappeared into the bush and fell silent.
It had been like moths attracted to a flame. None of the birds landed on me, but for a moment I felt like I was part of their world. Really, they did not give a damn one way or the other. It was now 5.30pm and a couple more were silhouetted, singly, against the pale blue sky. They too disappeared and into silence where the twigs were most dense, around head height.
I have traveled miles to see big birds -harriers, cranes and swans coming in to roost. You can see them from half a mile or more. Small birds as well like Starlings in vast numbers they become a single organism. Again they are seen from distance. The Wren roost was small scale and intimate. Something I had never seen before and it was truly staggering for this reason alone.
Having read about roosts of Wrens using bird boxes and caves I had hoped, but not expected to see one in this unusual year. Writing one day on I am still pumped about finding this piece of the puzzle.