Cactus Wren

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson Leave a Comment

This pair of cactus wren is one of many that nest on our property each year.  Desert Photo Retreat, Tucson, Arizona.
This pair of cactus wren is one of many that nest on our property each year. Desert Photo Retreat, Tucson, Arizona.

One of the fun things about spending almost 6 months each year camping on our remote piece of desert is being immersed in nature. Seeing all the changes that take place from week to week is fascinating, including this cactus wren pair.

Today, the cactus wren now have a giant, fully enclosed nest! However, I watched them in mid December placing some of the very first little sticks in the cholla. I captured these photos through the window as I was literally sitting at my desk. The adults would come and go, hopping around on the ground looking for the perfect stick. Once they found it, they would grab it and head straight to the nest with a real sense of purpose. It looked like a half-hazard mess at first, but as time went on, it turned out so nice!

Since we can’t see into the nest without disturbing them, we had no idea how they were doing until almost a month ago when we could hear the sounds of the babies inside. The chorus of sound would triple in volume every time one of the adults would return with a mouth full of bugs! It was hard to not smile watching this busy pair so diligently take care of their young.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to the off-spring, since I didn’t get to see them fledge. I’m choosing to believe some of the the wren we see hopping around here are offspring. That said, the adults are busy again expanding the nest even further. The second photo shows just how big it is, it must be more that two feet long! When I took these photos a couple of days ago, the adults were mainly bringing feathers and other soft material to the nest, possibly getting ready for a second brood. There are so many similar stories being played out right now. At least two gilded flicker pairs have nests in saguaros on the property, and possibly even more gila woodpeckers. Those chicks of both are really loud! We will be back in Alaska before many of these stories conclude, but will look forward to seeing them all again next winter when new stories will be told.

Cactus wren nest.
The huge nest as seen out the window at my desk.

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