Defends Territory by Singing (A Lesson From the House Wren)


This morning, when I went to the garden to pick my breakfast greens, I decided to check the nesting box. Sure enough, no one was home, so I swept out the mass of sticks and twigs left behind by the last brood. As I scooped the branchy mess aside, I was surprised to find a soft cup of grass and feathers at its center. I had seen a House Wren frequenting the box early in the season, so when I went back inside, I read up on their nesting habits. I did a google image search and several pictures came up almost identical to the abandoned habitat I tidied up earlier. Curious, I read some about the House Wren. As I munched my egg and kale scramble, this fact caught my eye: “Males defend territory by singing.”

How winsome, I thought, wondering at a world where turf battles might be handled with a song. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the House Wren’s voice as “effervescent” and the Audubon Guide to North American Birds says they sing “a rich bubbling song.”

What if? Maybe we can’t solve the world’s problems with a song, but what if we could learn something from the House Wren?

Later in the day, when we were walking down the little country road we frequent on our traipsing, I said to my husband, “I’m trying something new.” “What’s that?” he asked, as a car sped by—way too fast and way too close to our persons. “Slow down!” He growled loudly, at the quick-disappearing tail lights of a SUV.

“Well,” I said, “I’m trying to look at people with eyes of love.”

“Eyes of love?” He queried, as we crested a small hill (careful to stay on the side of traffic we were visible to on the way up, then crossing back over to walk facing traffic again on the way down).

“Yeah, like, instead of getting angry, I’m going to try to love instead.”

He looked skeptical.

“So, when a car comes by us too fast, I’m going to try to look at their side. The driver could be a young kid with little experience—I can see Jeffrey driving too fast down this road,” I said, referring to our seventeen-year-old son. “Or, someone so caught up in their own stuff they’re not even thinking about how they endanger pedestrians when they fly by.”

“Um-hmmm.” He responded.

“I’m going to think of myself as their teacher. I have to find a way to raise their awareness. With love. Maybe give a little gesture.” I motioned with the palm of my hand facing down—a symbol to slow down.

“I’ll give them a gesture,” he muttered, under his breath.

I laughed, and right then, a young girl in a white compact car came careening down on us. I felt a flash of righteous indignation, then caught myself. I pushed down on the air beside me with the palm of my hand and searched for her eyes through the windshield. She slowed down. Sorry, she mouthed sheepishly, putting her hand over her mouth to signal her remorse. I smiled at her through the window.

My husband rolled his eyes.

I thought I heard a song from the meadow grasses as I watched her taillights drive away. A rich, bubbling song.


  1. says

    Hello, this weekend is pleasant designed
    for me, for the reason that this moment i am reading this enormous informative paragraph
    here at my residence.

  2. says

    Beautiful, Laura. Love that tidbit about the birdsong! It immediately reminded me of 2 Chronicles 20 – how Jehoshaphat sent the singers out ahead of the army and God defeated their enemy!

  3. Paula Gamble says

    I love this, Laura! I want to see people with eyes of love too! That is really cool you got the opportunity to practice and see the results of love in action right away!

  4. says

    A challenge worthy of the effort, my friend. We can learn a lot from our feathered friends. Have a wonder-filled week!

  5. says

    This made me smile – the gentle humor and the wise words. All God’s creations leave us messages from Him – and the reveal is always enriching! Shalom, Laura!

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