A few days ago I wrote excitedly about the increase in Superb Fairy-wrens in our garden. The numbers have risen steadily in recent years. At first we only had two, a male and a female. Later this became three, then four and soon five.
Now I have counted SIX individuals. Two days ago they all came hopping along through our garden, feeding as they came. Most of them stopped for a drink at the bird bath, and several had a quick dip. I did a quick count – and a recount to be sure. Yes – there were six of them, one in male plumage and the rest were the plain brown of the females or young males. I can never work out the different between the females and the young males.
I have observed that several of them are displaying begging behaviour, so it seems that a number of the uncoloured birds are actually recently fledged. That’s good news; it proves successful recent breeding attempts. It also bodes well for the future of this small but steadily growing population. They are quite the lovely little family group, adding much colour and character to our garden.
Most mornings we have breakfast in our sun room overlooking our garden and several bird baths all within five metres of where we sit. Quite a few of the photos I have shared here over the years were taken from that very spot. After breakfast I usually read the daily paper and attempt the various puzzles as time and patience allow.
Yesterday I looked up from my paper to see our little family of Superb Fairy-wrens coming in for a drink and a short splash in the water. As I watched I did a quick count – and then an excited double check. We now have five wrens in our garden. They have either been joined by another, or have been successful in breeding this summer. One of them was begging from the coloured male, so I lean towards a happy nesting event recently.
This little troupe of birds has grown steadily in numbers over the last three years. I had recorded this species in our garden over twenty years ago and then they disappeared until three years ago. I suspect the many feral cats in the district are to blame.
On our arrival home after an overseas trip in the middle of January three years ago we were delighted that a coloured male and a female had taken up residence in our absence. Several family groups have always been present up the hill from home in some bushland about a kilometre away.
For some months we saw just the two of them. Later that year we saw three together on many occasions, and the next year there were four – and now we see five together. We are delighted to see and hear them in our garden on most days and pleased that they consider our garden a suitable habitat in which to reside and breed.
I am not showing any new photos today because I didn’t take any on this occasion. Instead, I have listed below some links to previous articles with photos of wrens for you to look at.
- Great birding moments #35 – Superb Fairy-wren
- Great birding moments #34
- Wrens at the birdbath
- Our wrens are back
- Beautiful Superb Fairy-wren
- Great birding moments #21 Splendid Wren
This morning my wife and I were in the sun room enjoying breakfast when a family of Superb Fairy-wrens came to the bird bath just outside the window. There was one male and two uncoloured birds, probably both females. This was delightful because we hadn’t seen or heard them in the garden for well over a week.
They stayed long enough to have a drink and a short splash in the water. It wasn’t long enough to get any photos, so I have used a photo taken some time ago. The photo above was also taken in our garden a few months ago, so it it almost certain it is the same bird as the one we saw this morning.
Our wrens are back!
When I say “our”, I mean the family of Superb Fairy-wrens who have decided to call our garden their home. Ever since we got back from our recent trip to visit family in Sydney we haven’t seen or heard them. That’s nearly a month and we missed not having them around.
This morning, while having breakfast in our sun-room, we saw two of them fussing around in the bushes near the bird bath. Both of them briefly visited the water for a quick drink. One was an uncoloured male and the other a female. Originally we only had two, a male and female. Then last year a third one joined them; we assume that they had nested and the third one was their offspring.
Now where have they been for the last month or so? In fact, thinking about it, we haven’t heard or seen them since well before we left for Sydney about 7 weeks ago. Have they been quietly nesting somewhere? And if they have been breeding, how many in their family group now? I guess time will tell.
Meanwhile we are looking forward to their cheerful trilling as they feed in the garden and nearby mallee scrub. And we also enjoy seeing them hopping and flitting around as we go about our daily tasks.
The photo of a fully coloured male above was taken in our driveway earlier this year.
Over the almost30 years we have lived in our present home we have rarely seen any wrens in our garden, part of a five acre block of fruit trees and mallee scrub with some native Australian plants thrown in for good measure. In most cases these occasional visitors were the locally common Variegated Fairy-wren. There are several thriving families up the hill in a mallee and native pine reserve about a kilometre away.
In other parts of Murray Bridge the Superb Fairy-wren is the common and dominant species. Just over a year ago we came back from an overseas holiday to be greeted with two Superb Fairy-wrens having quite happily taken up residence in our garden in our absence. It was a delightful welcome home present. In the coming months we saw them frequently, much to our continued delight.
Then they went quiet for a few weeks. Mmmm… had they moved on, we wondered?
To our increased delight they now number three: a coloured male and two uncoloured birds. Had they recruited another from nearby, or was the new one an offspring? We’ll never know. In recent days I’ve seen the three of them often, but sadly the male in in eclipse plumage and has lost most of his colour. In fact, he looks decidedly scruffy, not the magnificent colours shown in today’s photos. These shots were taken a few weeks ago. I also managed a good shot of one of the females (or uncoloured male?).
I should explain that all of these photos were taken in our gravel covered driveway. Our garden is far more attractive than it appears in these photos.