At our winter cabin in Dos Cabezas, a cactus wren comes to visit every morning. We’ve come to recognize his call, but never before had we seen a cactus wren nest, so finding not one but two in the mountains was another bit of excitement. Later I consulted my guides and found that Birds of Southeastern Arizona, by Richard Cachor Taylor, has this to say:
Large, straw-colored, oven-shaped [“front-loading,” that is, rather than “top-loading”] nests are woven from fine materials and usually placed in a thorny cactus or spiny tree. Males may build up to five extra “dummy” nests, which can be used as roosts, as well as to discourage would-be predators.
Chugging song, a lengthy series of krr krr krr notes, suggests someone cranking the motor on a older car, trying to get it started. Loud and often heard, for many the song of the Cactus Wren evokes the Arizona desert.