Wisconsin Ornithology: House Wren
In Wisconsin, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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This series highlights several of my favorite birds, all of which can be found in Wisconsin. I have found all of the birds included in the series (with one exception). Each cache is somehow related to the highlighted bird. In many cases you will find hints to finding the cache in the information provided about each bird. Each cache is hidden in roughly the environment the bird can be found. None of the caches are hidden in a nesting box or a fake nest (with one exception of a very non-standard nest), so if you find a nest or nesting box—please leave it alone it has nothing to do with the cache.
The House Wren, or Jenny Wren as my family calls it, is a common sight in many backyards. As you work in your garden or on a backyard project, you will frequently find this curious bird coming to investigate. More than likely the wren will treat you to its’ cheerful trilling song. But before too long this busy little bird will move on. The appetite of this small plain brown bird, weighing about as much as two quarters, is constantly driving the bird for its next meal: some tasty insect, spider, or snail. The House Wren has a slightly curved beak, but its’ most prominent distinguishing feature is its’ longish tail which is typically set at a raised angle or less common slightly drooped.
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon )
The House Wren has one of the widest ranges of any North American songbird. It can be found from the tip of South America north as a far as southern Canada and from the Caribbean Islands to the Pacific Coast. The House Wren accommodates well to the presence of humans and its population is increasing throughout most of its range. This growth is slowed slightly at the northern edge of its range by competition for key nesting locations from species such as the House Sparrow. On the other hand the House Wren can be aggressive in driving out some other competitors, occasionally even killing larger birds. The House Wren is one the major reasons for nest failure among Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Chickadees, and the Prothonotary Warbler.
The Male House Wren arrives first to the brooding ground and identifies a half a dozen or more potential nesting locations. The male will then collect small piles of sticks at each location. The wren will seek old woodpecker holes, natural crevices, and nesting boxes. But the wren is also comfortable using discarded items such as old boots or even items stored in your garage. Part of the mating ritual involves the male escorting the female wren to the various nesting locations that he has identified. The female will select one of these sites, or occasionally find her own location. House Wrens nests are frequently plagued with mites. The wrens appeared to have found an ingenious strategy for combating these mites. The wren collects the egg sacks of spiders and places them in the nest. As the young spiders hatch they prey upon the unwanted mites. After the female wren has successfully hatched her brood both the male and female feed the young. Initially the male carries the heavier load for this feeding. But as the young are able to tolerate lengthier time on their own, the female shifts from sitting on the nest to searching out food. Wrens typically are able to raise two broods during a summer. As time nears for the first brood to fledge one of the pair may abandon the family and begin on a second brood with a new mate. However, it is common for the pair to remain together for the season and raise the second brood together.
NOTE: Between stage one and the final there is a barbed wire fence. However, if you look for a marked trail, it will let you pass through the fence without having to negotiate the wires.
Congratulations to Bmzoo and ereven987 on being the first to find the cords to the final (and would have had the first to find, except for an error on my part). Congratulations to J&K&Kids and Smashing Ground on being the first to find the cache itself.
Portions of this cache are located in Donald County Park. Permit for placement has been approved by the Dane County Parks Department. A copy of the permit maybe obtained by emailing me at the above link.
The Geocache Notification Form has also been submitted to the Wisconsin DNR. Geocaches placed on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource managed lands require permission by means of a notification form. Please print out a paper copy of the notification form, fill in all required information, then submit it to the land manager. The DNR Notification form and land manager information can be obtained at: http://www.wi-geocaching.com/hiding
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Last Updated: on 08/25/2016 06:41:05 Pacific Daylight Time (13:41 GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum