a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Wren rescue

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Last night my husband opened the patio windows at 8 p.m. to clean and upturn the wild birds’ water container so that it would be ready for a re-fill in the morning.  He nearly stood on something cowering on the window step.  It moved slightly and he thought firstly of a mouse but on further examination it turned out to be a very small bird.  Temperatures were under zero and dropping to a forecast -15C.

He brought it inside and it appeared to be a very unhappy wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) with no visible injuries.  We could not tell if it was weak because of the extreme weather conditions we have been having or if it had hit the window and was concussed.  As an aside the wren is called a Troglodyte mignon in France and I can attest that this one was certainly very mignon.


In any event we could not leave it to be frozen to death.  We are particularly fond of our wrens that live in the undergrowth in the border that separates us from our next door neighbour.  They usually stay in the back garden but we have seen them visit our feeding station on the front patio outside our dining room window but only on rare occasions.

A rescue box was prepared rapidly.  The box is plastic and was lined with newspaper and some softer kitchen paper which could be used as nesting (?) material.  I added a little milk bottle top of water and a fat ball.  I also soaked some dry puppy food and added that later when it was re-hydrated.  We left it alone and heard some movement and taking this as a good sign we put the box in a cool, dark place and hoped for the best.

I could not resist a peek later but could see nothing; it was under the kitchen paper and was either dead or asleep as it was not moving.

In the morning I jumped out of bed (a rare feat these days) and rushed to check on the wren.  It was already up and fluttering.   The thermometer read -6C outside but it was light and the other birds were cheeping and flying.  The sun was coming up and it was going to be a sunny day so it was time to see if the wren could make it on its own.

I lifted the lid and after a few flaps he managed it over the side of the box and made straight for the undergrowth which I had suspected was home to him.

I hope he is all right.  He certainly has more chance than being left to be frozen to death or be eaten by a rat.

I checked the empty box.  He had not touched the puppy food which had worked well with the injured woodpecker last year but I could not be sure if he had snacked on the fat ball or not.  I suppose a wren’s breakfast would not made great inroads into a fat ball.

A happy ending I think!

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

One thought on “Wren rescue

  1. Hi thanks for visiting the blog of Bravito and me and liking the post, I hope to see soon some pictures of your garden:)


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