Helen Lockhart who lives nearby hand-dyes knitting yarn for a living, which she does from a shed in the garden. A few years ago she got a “shieling dryer”, a sort of tent affair developed by someone on Mull and designed to dry clothing outside in our Highland climate. This consists of a frame, a cover and many metres of line inside. In late May/early June, one hank of the yarn she had on the line had a lot of moss in it, which she assumed had blown there. A while later, a similar incident occurred. Eventually she realised it had been put there on purpose, so when it happened a third time, Helen left that hank on the line. A little wren was then seen collecting moss and building out a nest. One day, Helen had other hanks of a similar silvery shade on the line, and this confused the bird, as Helen found wisps of moss in a few other hanks, but none in any other colour of yarn.It seems a female had selected the yarn as a suitable nest, no doubt attracted by the practical yet fashionable silvery grey of the yarn as when Helen looked inside she was surprised to find some little eggs in it. Four wrenlings duly hatched with the parents unfazed by Helen’s activity around the nest and after much feeding activity the birds successfully fledged on 20th July.
You can see more about her wool at Helen’s website: https://www.ripplescrafts.com where she also has a blog telling more about the wrens (amongst other news).
Many thanks to Helen and to her husband Stevan who took these amazing photos! A video is also available at Stevan’s blog: http://www.tinslave.co.uk/blog/index.php?post/27/The-Wrens-have-fledged
Photos with kind permission by S Lockhart