Cactus Wrens are fairly common throughout the southwest and especially in Northeast Scottsdale, Arizona. They were officially recognized as Arizona’s state bird in 1931. These birds, about the size of a common Robin, build their nests in several varieties of cactus such as the staghorn cholla. The male and female Cactus Wrens mate for life. The male will often build several nests during the spring and the female may lay eggs in one or more of them. Some authorities suggest that the multiple nest building creates “decoys” to confuse predators as to where the eggs actually are.
The nests themselves are usually easy to spot deep within the prickly branches of a cholla, but it is difficult to clearly see the nest entrance in most cases…a particularly tough challenge when trying to photograph the well camouflaged nest dwellers. I recently found one nest that was relatively clear and was able to spend some time watching the birds come and go. Click on any of the thumbnail images below to enlarge.
For more information on Arizona’s favorite bird, go to Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cactus_wren.