This is a visual and thematic companion post to one earlier this week. Together these are about being shelter and giving shelter, two things particularly important for those in need during the harsher winter season.
For the longest time, wrens were my primary backyard birds. It was always enjoyable to sit in my sunroom and watch them looking for food and doing all of the things wrens do.
This was before my chickens moved in with their bigger presence when compared to the little wrens. But they all get along quite well.
The chickens don’t see the wrens as competition for resources, and the wrens don’t see the chickens as big selfish backyard bullies. The wrens, the original “owners” of my backyard, actually enjoy sharing the space because chickens love to scratch the ground for food.
When the chickens get excited with their scratching and digging, they send a lot of smaller bits of grain and seeds in all directions. A good amount will end up outside the run for the wrens to pick up and eat.
Early in the morning, I will sit with my chickens while they are eating their breakfast salad and watch the wrens collecting what the chicken activities from the day before left for them. The wrens seem not to be bothered by my presence now because of the chickens.
The wrens don’t do anything to benefit the chickens or me, at least not anything I can see. Still, we do appreciate the wren songs, and we do enjoy watching their quick little hopping and darting movements from place to place. The backyard would just not feel the same without their joyful presence.
There have been times when wrens have visited inside the chicken run. Perhaps it’s to evade a larger predator or to get a little closer to the chicken’s supply of grain and seeds. But my chickens aren’t territorial about their home. In a way, they are just backyard visitors too.
Chickens don’t mind sharing. (The only real exception is Gracie’s keen interest in getting more than her fair share of pomegranate!) In general though, they are just very good-natured towards other birds, even the ones who are smaller and generally insignificant, at least from their perspective.
To my surprise, there have been times, usually in the cooler fall and spring seasons, when I have opened the chicken coop in the morning, and a little wren has flown out. It’s just a random thing, and I’m unsure if it was intentional or accidental.
My chickens didn’t really care how the wrens came to share their home for the occasional night, they just enjoyed them for who they were.
Maybe they lost their way after their home was destroyed, and it got dark earlier than expected while looking for a new one. Maybe they just needed a safe protected shelter for the night before migrating to new territory. Maybe they simply needed warmth and companionship.
Who cares? What matters is they are there now and they are birds too.
My chickens don’t get anything back from the wrens as far as I can tell, but they aren’t bothered by it. Nor do my chickens strut around as if the wrens should feel indebted to them as the superior and “wealthier” backyard bird.
My chickens seem to understand how they, along with the wrens, are both together my beloved birds.
My Life With Gracie taught me every life matters regardless of how insignificant it may seem.
Maybe there are opportunities “right in your own backyard” to be shelter and give shelter to others. You will, I believe, receive much more back than what you give. Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!