Cactus wren nest in a cholla cactus

The photograph of a cactus wren nest was taken in Sabino Canyon, just outside of Tucson.

Desert Duets: Cactus Wren Babies Web Page

Cactus wrens build their large football-shaped nests in the safety of a cactus, thorny bush or tree. In the Sonoran Desert, they often choose a cholla as in the photograph above. The male and female work together to weave the first brooding nest of the season. They make it from dried grasses and plant stems and line it with feathers. The female cactus wren lays three to six eggs. While the female sits on the eggs, the male begins a second nest. They can lay as many as three sets of eggs, or broods, each season.

The eggs hatch in a little more than two weeks. The babies fledge, or learn to fly, at around twenty days. They stay near the nest and depend on the parents for food for one more month.

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Launched: February 2008
Updated: 17 January 2009