MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: How can I protect a wren nest in a planter from house cat predator?

Date: Fri Aug 4 09:15:50 2000
Posted By: Steven Williams, Staff, Special Education, none
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 964966184.Zo


Moving the nest higher, out of reach of the cats, is a good idea.  Just 
don't move it to far from it's original location or they may get confused 
and abandoned the nest. I don't think the chicken wire is a good idea as 
the cats may be able to climb it to get to the nest.  If the wrens feel 
safer with the location they will stay and raise the chicks.

However, there is another problem you may need to overcome.  When the baby 
wrens reach a certain age they may attempt to leave or fall out of the nest 
when testing their wings.  At this point they are not very good at flying. 
 Eventually, all the chicks will be out of the nest and in the immediate 
area.  The parent wrens will feed the fledglings on the ground and 
surrounding bushes as the babies are taught how to find food on their own. 
 While this is a normal part of rearing the young, this is when they will 
be at thier greatest risk of predation.  Knowing you have a couple of eager 
predators (your cats) ready and waiting for this opportunity the wrens are 
at even greater risk.  

The only way to overcome this danger is by keeping the cat's indoors until 
the wrens have fully fleged and become strong fliers.  This may take only a 
few days after they leave the nest.  The wrens will most likely be eager to 
move the fledglings out of the area and far from your cats anyway.

Another suggestion is that you contact a wildlife rehabilatator in your 
area for additional assistance.  You can find rehabilatators by calling 
local vetinarians or animal hospitals. They usually maintain phone numbers 
to people in the area who are trained in rescuing wildlife.  Be prepared 
for the rehabilitator response to be, "Just leave the nest alone and let 
nature take it's course".  This is usually sound advise, however cats are 
not a native predator, so there is nothing natural about this situation.   
 Make a few calls.  Rehabilitators are often overwhelmed with animals and 
recieve no compensation for their work and efforts.  However,if there are 
no other options, you may find one who will take and fledge the young wrens 
so they will not have the added danger of the cats.

I hope this information has been helpful.  Good luck.


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