House Wren

House Wren
The House Wren is probably the most abundant of the Wren species. Attracting them can be as easy as adding a bird house specifically built for them.

Even if no such bird house is offered, these birds are likely to find somewhere or something to nest in if no man-made housing is available.

Their nesting and feeding habits are easily observed as they tend to be somewhat tolerant of humans. These tireless little birds are in constant search for insects which can be a real asset backyard gardener.

Description

Unlike many others, House Wrens do not have brightly colored feathers. Measuring 5 inches long with a plump body and a short tail.

The upperparts are unstreaked and grayish brown, the underparts are grayish white. Notice the faint or missing eye stripe that is common in other wrens.

The females and juveniles look the same as the adult male although recent fleglings are noticeably smaller, and their song isn't as sure as the adult male. For the most part they have no prominent field marks.

If you spend any time at all watching these birds, you'll easily know the extent of its territory.

The male usually has three prominent perches from which he defends his territory of 1/2 - 3/4 acres.

Mating Habits

Easily attracted to a birdhouse, the male arrives first, in early Spring and begins to establish his territory. You'll know he has arrived when you begin hearing him sing from his perches.

This songster will sing from dusk to dawn. The singing is mostly done during the mating season.

As you watch, you'll notice the male begins placing sticks into prospective nest holes. He may build as many as twelve different nesting sites.

After pairing with a mate, the male takes the female to each of the nesting sites he has begun building.

The female selects the one she likes and begins to fill the nest completely with more twigs. Then she makes a small depression at the back of the cavity which she lines with pine needles and grass for egg laying.

Interesting to note, spider egg sacs are part of the make up of nest building. It's thought that they use the spider egg sacs to help control mites in the nest. The spiders hatch and eat the mites.

House wrens are cavity nesters and as such, are easily attracted to birdhouses. In fact, these birds seem to prefer man-made nest boxes to natural cavities.

Nesting Habits

The nesting site can be located anywhere from 4-30 ft. above ground. After choosing and rebuilding the nest, the female will lay one egg each day until a clutch of 5 or 6 eggs are laid. The eggs are white with brown marks.

Incubation time last 12-15 days. During this time the female will leave the eggs from time to time to feed. Sometimes it may look like the male is bringing food to the female, more likely though, he is anticipating (practicing) the feeding of the young. Although occassional feedings to the female may occur.

After the eggs hatch, it will take another 16-17 days before the young leave the cavity.

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For their size, these birds can be very aggressive, often piercing other cavity nesting birds eggs. Thought should be given as to whether or not to place birdhouses for Wrens.

If you're trying to attract other cavity nesting birds such as Bluebirds, you may not want to allow House Wrens to nest around your property. Wrens will take over even active nest of other birds by destroying eggs.

The House Wrens diet consist almost entirely of insects.

Rarely bothered by general human presence, if the bird watcher gets to close to the nest, she stands a good chance at being scolded.

Wrens will attempt raising two broods a season. Second broods are raised at a different nest site. Cleaning of any bird house should be done between broods. First cleaning should be done in late fall and the second cleaning should be done after the first nesting.

If you don't have any nesting before about June, but you get them after that time, that usually means it's their second nesting and that they have nested somewhere else already. The breeding seasons runs from March to July.

When Autumn arrives, these tiny birds will begin heading southward and spend the winter in the southern states and into Mexico.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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