|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Greta, 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. Steve
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