Location: Austin, Texas, United States

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In further honor of Mother's Day, I thought I'd add a post about our newest houseguests. We have a pair of Carolina wrens and their four hatchlings living on our back porch. I can't get a picture, because their corner is too dark, and because I don't want to scare the kids or the parents by hovering over their nest. Here's a link for information about Carolina wrens: They have pictures, song recordings, and general information about habits and such.

Why did I pick this for Mother's Day, when yesterday I complained about housework? Well, it seems that Carolina wrens are the perfect example of daddy sharing housework. The wrens mate for life, quite faithfully. They are resident year-round in one territory, established the first time they mate. The interesting thing is that Pops is an extremely involved parent. In fact, he'll take over childrearing once the little darlings are avian first-graders, so Mom can go have another clutch of eggs at another place in the territory. Judging from this pair, Dad takes over a ton of drudge-work. From shortly after dawn until sunset, the adult bird flits around the yard, catching yummy bogs -- spiders, mostly -- and hauling them back to the nest for the babies.

Thanks to this devotion, we have four hatchlings peeking their tiny feathered heads out of the nest. Dad's involvement in the icky part of childrearing means he had more offspring going into the next generation. Thus, we have natural selection supporting the idea that Dad ought to pull his own domestic weight. More dishes washed, more genes going out into the future. Happy Mother's Day.


Blogger Martha said...

Hi--Last spring we had mockingbirds nest outside the kitchen window. Daddy bird often brought food to the hatchlings and he kept watch while Momma bird rested. He expertly dive-bombed squirrels, cats, dogs. Those mockingbirds were great parents.

7:35 PM  

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