The buzz bzzzt buzzz was annoying and close, disturbing the few minutes of peace I'd snagged to read in the back room that had once been a porch. Come to think of it, I'd been hearing it all afternoon. Stepping through the laundry room to the tiny back-stairs landing (what's left of the outside portion of the porch), I stood transfixed by the flit and flutter of some tiny upstart perky-tailed birds all around the back yard. Definitely them making all the noise.
There had to be a flock...or maybe just four or five, or wait, really just two moving around so fast they seemed like a multitude. Up on the eaves of the nearby garage, over in the roses, down on the end of the kid's slide below me, bouncing through the branches of the plum tree, moving too fast for my poor old eyes to track. And such a brash little thing, suddenly hopping along the railing not even two feet from me, flicking its standing-straight-up-at-attention tail, chut-chut-chut, it goes, posing for a micro-second, only long enough for me to glimpse a long thin white streak just above its pert eyes, like a uni-brow borrowed from Steve Martin. Then, down it flits, to weave in and out the lattice work along the steps in quick hops, reminding me of a game from my suddenly ancient childhood (and the song that went with it): Go In and Out the Window. Cheeky rascals; endearing.
It didn't take so long with Sibley's to identify the sassy little things. Bewick's wrens, facing extirpation in parts of the East Coast, but still abundant here in the West. And it's only taken me another day to realize they are nesting right under the porch.