May 29, 2002 7 a.m. Before it gets too hot, the family of cactus wrens begins to peck at our potted plants on the back porch of our home in Apache Junction, Az. As we settle our belongings after moving from Phoenix, we see the birds lifting plants by the roots and looking for insects. We chase them away and they perch on a large prickly pear cactus farther out in our 1 1/4-acre lot of combined natural desert and scraped landscape. The house, built in 1970, likely had cactus wrens living on the property at the time of its construction, and now they call out to us to remind our three-member family who really controls the area.
Our plants survive the heat and birds until we leave for a week to attend a funeral. When returning, we find the birds are healthy and busy hopping on our porch, while we see remnants of our wilted plants on the cement.
It reminds us of letting go of what we can’t control — the lives of birds who insist on keeping their homes, and the lives of humans, who have free will to choose life or death.
Our curious cactus wrens are more reticent to come close now after one got stuck in a box and died in the heat. An insect must have tempted the bird, who unknowingly entered a human-constructed box.
We still see their feathers around and now they’re busily building nests