Possible abandoned house wren nest?

by Laura S.
(East Aurora, NY)

PLEASE HELP! I am not sure what to do, if anything. I have a small bird house in the lilac tree outside my bedroom window.

I have been enjoying watching the mother bring insects to her fledglings (I can see at least two) and video taping them for the past two days.

She literally feeds her babies from sun up until sundown. However, I have not seen her all morning long today.

I am worried something may have happened to her; or could this be how wrens get their fledglings to leave the nest? The babies have been chirping nonstop all morning.

It's now early afternoon and still no sign of parent birds. Should I be concerned? Is there anything I can/should do?

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Aug 04, 2014
Where are my wrens
by: Anonymous

Hi Laura,
I forgot to mention to just watch out for sparrows, I had previously had my wren house in the back of my yard, and the sparrows didn't like them being near their bird houses, so I had to move it to the front of the yard.

The sparrow would actually not allow the wren to go in to the entrance hole. Every time the wren would get near the house, the sparrow would sit near the house, and not let him in.

I finally moved it to the front, and it was fine. The sparrows finally gave up. I would actually stand under the tree, when I heard the sparrow and the poor wren making his alarming noise to get the sparrow away.

The wrens have beautiful voices - I read that it is the male that sings, a lot - especially early in the mornings and around dusk. You're right, it is a beautiful time of the year. Chili, NY area

Aug 04, 2014
wrens abandoned house
by: Anonymous


I actually cleaned out my wren house, just the other day. Once they fledged, I left it there for about another 4-5 weeks, and no one returned.

I opened it up, very carefully, just in case there were any new eggs, babies etc. Then I put it back up in its same location. I hope to get some new activity soon.

Aug 04, 2014
Where are my wrens? Take 2!
by: Lainie

Thank you for your kind time. I have a feeling they all left the nest....the day before the spraying, the parents would let me know I was a little too close by their very loud chirping.

Today, to be sure, I got very close to the bird house and didn't see anything, although the twigs go very low into the cavity of the house. No little dead babies on the ground either.

I went back to my reading and lo and behold, one of the parents returned and sat right in front of me on a shepherd's hook. She did not make an effort to return to the house, but kept scattering about the ground without any sounds.

Just nibbling on a few scattered seeds in my yard. The babies of the song sparrows, finches and robbins are also gone along with the blue jays and cardinals. The doves are sticking around as usual. They usually stay all winter.

The landscaper did not spray any of my arborvitaes and will return this week to take care of the spider mites.

I think there isn't too much to worry about now with babies or parents...My feeling is that they have all flown off to their new chapters and I will greatly miss them.

It has been a wonderful lesson in nature and parenthood! Humans have so much to learn! Should I clean out the bird house in the fall, or just leave it for the wrens to care for?

I so hope they return next year...it's the best entertainment and totally free! Thanks again for your kind thoughts!

Aug 04, 2014
Abandoned bird house wrens
by: Anonymous

This is how the mother wren tries to get them to fledge. She is probably in the area, and you just haven't seen her. She is probably out looking for food.

If you stand near the nest, and make a chirp noise, if she is in the area, she will fly over to you and make an alarming noise, to scare you away. The larger the babies the louder they chirp.

Keep watching though. My wren used to be very active near the nest around 7:30/8:00 in the morning, and around 5:30 - 7:00 at night.

Aug 04, 2014
Wrens -spraying tree
by: Anonymous

You probably should have waited a few more weeks before spraying the tree until the fledgings have moved on, but I understand the time restrictions that you had.

You can actually look into the bird house or nest with a flash light to see if you see any other little birds.

May be they were big enough to fledge already, and that is why the other bird was pushed out of the nest.

If you stand under the nest, and make a chirping noise, the parent might actually be sitting on the nest still and that is why you haven't seen her.

If she hears the noise, or sees you near the nest, she will definately make a loud chirping noise, to alarm you to stay away.

Also, she might have been frightened by the landscaper. Also, they might have other babies out in the trees, that she is feeding, then trying to find food for her birds in the nesting box.

It's amazing how you think that they aren't around, but then all of a sudden, there they are. If you find babies, being unattended you can call a wildlife rehabilitator to stop over and help out. Wrens are a lot of fun to watch.

I had someone help me out with 3 babies (cedar waxwings), that fell out of my neighbors yard too soon, because they had a landscaper trimming the branch around them, and she took care of them for 4 weeks then released them back in to my yard.

Wrens love to eat mealworms - and they grab little sacks of spiders eggs, to put around their nest, the spiders hatch and they somehow keep the nest clean.

So, that could be why you are having troubles with spider mites. Not sure though.

Aug 01, 2014
Where are my wrens?
by: Lainie

I've had the most beautiful summer watching a pair of wrens build their nest and raise their family finally settling in a birdhouse that was empty for 3 years!

About two weeks ago, both parents pushed a dead baby out of the house which took them all afternoon and it hung precariously from the opening. He was a huge baby for a wren.

I buried it...I have put off having my trees sprayed all summer because of the wrens and other birds that are nesting.

However, yesterday was the final day my landscaper to spray as my trees are loaded with spider mites and need care. I warned the tech about the nests and he was careful to not disturb any nests.

Not sure if it's a coincidence, but there is absolute silence from the birdhouse and I have not seen the parents all day. I'm hoping they were not frightened away.

The spray should not have hurt them per my landscaper and there are no dead wrens found. All the other birds are obvious and taking care of their little ones.

Any thoughts to set my mind at ease would be so appreciated. I'm so upset that they left their yard!

Aug 01, 2014
No return
by: Gene

The young do not return to the house after fledging.

Aug 01, 2014
Do wren families come back and use nest with babies on same day
by: Anonymous

My baby wrens left their house for first flight today amazing! Both parents chasing off other birds! Quite a sight!

Now will they return to their neat tonight after their first day out? Or do they stay out now? I can hear the parents.

They're kind of tree hopping. So will they all return to the nest later today or tonight?

Jul 09, 2014
by: Anonymous

Just got back from vacation, just read your e-mail.
Have you seen the parent birds within the last few days? If the babies are still alive, see if you have a wildlife bird rehabilitator in your area. Check veterinarians, ems - ambulance (sometimes they know of someone that can help out).

If you can't find anyone, check on the internet - you-tube videos, and read up on what the certain bird eats. Wrens eat mealworms and other insects - probably crushed live ones - you can get at a pet shop. What location do you live in? Good luck

Jul 05, 2014
mother abandoned babies
by: Connie

I have a nest in my garage and the 4 babies have opened their eyes, but I have not seen the parents at the nest for about 2 days. Is there something I can feed them? - I know they are still alive, but seem very weak.

Jun 23, 2014
Question re: wrens disappearing
by: Anonymous

Do you have many sparrows in the yard? Sparrows are very territorial. I had a new wren house that I had put up and actually had to move it to the front yard because the sparrows wouldn't allow the wren to go in to the house.

Luckily it didn't have any eggs in it, I removed the sticks & they re-nested in the front yard. Eventually the one sparrow finally left them alone.

I actually stood under the nest when I heard the alarming noise from the mother wren, and realized the sparrow was on top of the house. They have since had babies, now they are on a second brood.

Try not to have a lot of feed out for the sparrows, so that eventually they might leave your area to search for other areas to nest.

Sparrows I have read, also might try to kill the female, so may be the wren decided to take her babies to a safer location.

The wrens as you know can been seen, in the early mornings singing, and also between 5 -8 at night. They are probably still in the trees, because I have seen some of the new babies in the trees, but they can be so quiet that you don't even know any bird is around.

She is probably just out and about teaching them to search for food & and teaching them how to fly. She might even be searching for another nesting site.

I wouldn't be surprised to see her go back to the site where she had her other brood because she was so successful the first time. Have fun.

Jun 22, 2014
family of wrens dissapear
by: Anonymous

I have a birdhouse in my backyard and two house wrens started a family. I have been watching everyday from start to finish how they began this venture.

The eggs finally hatched and I've been enjoying watching the parents feed babies all day long, listening to singing and chirping constantly. It was beautiful.

This has been going on for about a little over a week. This morning I went out to watch and listen and there was no activity or sounds. So upset!
What could have happened? Pls someone who's knowledgeable let me know.

Jun 18, 2014
Wrens - and their egg
by: Anonymous

I read something on the internet that they lay an egg every day, but don't sit on the nest till all the eggs (usually around 6) are ready to be sat on.
Keep an eye out for sparrows and keep them away from the wrens. I'm sure the wrens will be back. I noticed at the beginning, mine was usually near her nest in the early mornings, and around 5:30-6:30 ea night, once all the eggs have been laid.

She might even have some other babies up in the trees needing to be fed. They are a lot of fun to watch, and their song is absolutely beautiful.

Buy a wren house at some point (after the other nest & eggs have fledged, keep away from other bird houses, and I guarantee you will get a wren. I put one up in my yard and within a day they found it. Have fun.

Jun 17, 2014
Wrens Mansion build, one egg no parents
by: Love my wild birds

Last friday I was startled going out my front door by 2 Wrens. I looked to the corner by my front door where they were building in a flower pot that is up on an iron plant stand.

I left them be, but checked later and had the glorious opportunity to watch them work. I stayed at the end of the front walk, they came right by me to get sticks, supplies and grass.

They did not seem bothered that I was watching them. What a gorgeous nest they built. I was away for the weekend, came back yesterday to their perfect nest and one egg. No parents to be found.

We had the cleaning ladies, and the pest control and UPS at the door yesterday, would that scare them away from their egg? Im so sad if they left. Tampa Florida.

Jun 16, 2014
A Better Way
by: Gene

Hi Folks,

Rather than go through all the trouble of using something that will deteriorate over time to reduce the entrance hole, you might want to use these. They're pretty cheap and the sparrows can't pull them apart.

birdhouse hole guard
Entance Hole Protector



Jun 16, 2014
Wrens Doing Well
by: Anonymous

Good idea about using a bumper sticker to change the size of the entrance of the birdhouse. We had a problem with the wrens being attacked by sparrows. We realized that the sparrows are very territorial.

We took down our wren house - luckily it only had sticks in it, no eggs. Moved it to the front yard. Our sparrows nest in houses in the back.

I removed the sticks out of the wren house and hung it in the front yard in a tree. Within a day they found it again and started building a nest again.

Every now and then the sparrow sits near the wren house, and I go outside and stand under the tree, when I hear the wren making an alarming noise, then the sparrow soon leaves the area.

The wren immediately goes back in to her house and the singing begins. Eventually the one sparrow that has been bugging the wren has left her alone.

I have now even seen baby wrens in the two front maple trees, where the wren house it located. Looks like she is starting to have another brood, so all is well.

Next year, I think I'm going to take down all of the bird houses and make the entrance holes small enough only for the wrens, chickadees, etc. I enjoy the smaller birds because of their beautiful voice, and color. What a beautiful time of the year.

Jun 14, 2014
Response to "Wren being attacked by sparrow"
by: Anonymous

I'm hoping the person who posted in May is still checking this site. I had the same issue with house sparrows being aggressive towards a male wren that was building a nest in my birdhouse for a month.

They actually wrecked his nicely woven twig nest and smashed it, and wanted to take it over. I finally realized the easiest way to keep the sparrows from being aggressive was to make it impossible for them to enter the birdhouse.

The house door was set to bluebird size, which is something like 1 1/2", but I took a thick outdoor bumper sticker I had, folded it in half, and cut a circle out of the center. I then used scissors to cut away the paper backing only 1/2" from the each edge, leaving the paper on the center of the sticker, around the hole I 'd cut out.

I then stuck the new 'door' to the bird house over the old birdhouse opening. I made the entrance only something like 1" wide.

I offset the placement of the sticker a little below the original door so that wood from the entrance is still available to 'grab', since they hang there before entering sometimes.

The sparrows immediately realized they were too big to enter the birdhouse and lost interest in the house within an hour

The male eventually found a female, and the babies are all happy and chirping away all day, each time they hear the parents' calling/singing.

If you use my technique to create a new, smaller door to your birdhouse, just keep in mind that only chickadees, wrens, and maybe warblers can nest in there, but not sparrows, bluebirds, or others.

Jun 13, 2014
White sac
by: Anonymous

The white sac that you see is the fledgings waste. The parents during the day will remove the sacs and fly away from the nest and drop them. She cleans the nest periodically.

If you find a bird that you think a parent has abandoned - check to see if you have a Bird or Wildlife rehabilitator in your area. We actually have a EMS that I found through a Volunteer Fire Dept. - that rehabilitates little birds, bunnies, turtles, etc. Some vets also take them.

If you need to rehabilitate a baby bird, check out the You-tube videos - there are many videos to watch. Some birds eat berries, and others eat insects. Thanks.

Jun 13, 2014
Wrens parents
by: Anonymous

I have wrens that have been nesting in my yard also. Sometimes the mother wren will leave the nest for quite awhile. I think she goes and gets food for herself, then goes back to the nest.

I read something that she sits on the nest for 45 min at a time, leaves for 15 min. to get food, then repeats that all day. Mine leaves the nest for a long time.

Just watch her, to make sure the sparrows aren't going after her, because they are very territorial, and sometimes they try to keep her from going back in to her birdhouse.

Because she leaves the nest for quite awhile, I also noticed that she had a baby bird in another tree, that she was watching out for.

That is why she probably was leaving the nest unattended for awhile. You can tell if she sings all day to her babies in the trees, she is doing well.

She sings first day in the real early morning, and around 5:30 pm. I bought some dried mealworms for them and hung it on a tree away from the wren house. Have fun.

Jun 12, 2014
Wren abadoned nest with 5 eggs
by: Carol, from PA

I have an Wren nest in my close pin bag. The parents were sitting on the 5 eggs. As of the last 5 days, no parent has showed up. What would make the parents leave the eggs?

May 31, 2014
Carolina wren question
by: Alison

I have a nest with babies about 9 days old now. The nest was touched by a human hands and at least one of the babies was touched (night before last). I read here that abandonment after touched by humans is a myth.

The parents were feeding the birds yesterday but I have not seen them at all today and am nervous. Perhaps they are being encouraged to leave the nest.

Looked in earlier and saw a strange looking egg sac? it is white and has a soft shell or casing. Looked again and there is another one at the mouth of the nest. Any ideas as to what this could be? A spider egg? really weird!

A little smaller than the wren eggs were and a little pointed at the end on each and again very soft looking almost like a larvae. Thanks for any replies.

May 20, 2014
Wren being attacked by sparrow
by: Anonymous

I have been reading a lot about wrens. I also noticed first hand that wren adults can get attacked by sparrows when they try to nest in wren houses. I don't know if it is territorial or what?

I actually took a wren house down before they had any eggs because I knew the sparrows would kill the female.

I am thinking about getting a predator guard for the entrance hole, and may be putting a hole on the back of the bird house with another predator guard on that also, just so that the female wren can get out of the house without being attacked.

The sparrow sits on the branch outside the house and won't even let her in. I can't think of anything else to do.

Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks.

May 17, 2014
by: Tweedle dee

We have a couple of baby Carolina wrens whose nest was bothered by a neighbor's cat. The parents haven't been back to feed all day and we've started to feed them. How often should they be fed?

May 31, 2013
by: Wild-Bird-Watching.com

It is absolutely a myth that touching eggs will cause abandonment. Songbirds have a very weak sense of smell and will not abandon nest, eggs, or young because they've been touched.

However, the oil on our hands can cause harm to the eggs so touching no more than needed is best.

To learn what's involved with incubating eggs please look at:

Found A Bird Egg.


May 31, 2013
2 house wren eggs
by: MaMaRae

My son moved a bird house with me knowing. He later found it on the ground and told me about it. This was after a big rain. The eggs were on the ground and one was busted. He begged to keep the others.

I have always heard that once a human has touched bird eggs the mother won't take care of them because they'll have a smell she doesn't recognize. This could be a myth, I have no idea. Now we have these 2 eggs under a lamp. I am wondering if we have done the right thing. Can we still put them back? What should we do?

Jun 10, 2012
6baby wrens
by: Anonymous

I had 6 baby wrens in my garage so cute will they come back??

Jun 05, 2012
BABY WRENS 4 days old
by: Joy Walker

We have 5 baby wrens, about 4 days old. They make no noise yet and the mom has been great. I watch them constantly outside my bedroom window.

Since she built the nest inside the cup on my table and laid one egg per day, she has been in that nest EVERY night for the past three weeks.

Since the eggs hatched she has feed them every 20 minutes and never missed a beat. We had a bad storm tonight and the mommy wren hasn't been back in about 6 hours. It is now 9:40pm CST in Louisiana and now mommy wren. I need advice quick. I don't want the babies to die. I need to know what to do.

May 21, 2012
by: Anonymous

I have found a nest with eggs in it three weeks ago
today. The bird has sat on the eggs almost
constantly until yesterday. Shouldn't the eggs
have hatched earlier? Did she know they wouldn't
hatch is why she left? The nest has not been
disturbed at all. She is not there this a.m.
either. Would appreciate a possible answer.

Aug 17, 2011
3 orphaned wrens
by: mary

I, too, have found 3 baby house wrens in our birdhouse with one parent on the ground, dead. I have watched all day for the second parent to return, but it has not, and the babies have been frantically chirpping all day.

A local rehab volunteer said to lift the birds from the nest, lay white paper towel down, and return them to the nest.

Check later; if the birds have pooped, then they are being fed quietly, probably a response to the earlier attack which killed the other bird!

If no bowel movements are found on the paper, soften dog or cat food, break into tiny pieces, tap the side of the baby beak, when mouth opens wide, feed the babies by hand.

Two are eating well and pooping immediately, the third appears weak but it finally started eating some.

She also said to look into the house with a flashlight at night; if there is no adult with the babies, bring them in for protection.

We did this, gave them a night feeding and all three are sleeping soundly now. Tomorrow I will deliver them to the rehab home. Wow....what a day!

Jul 28, 2011
Common Among Songbirds
by: Wild-Bird-Watching.com

Keep in mind that the adult birds will withhold food in order to get the young to leave the nest. This encourages the young to leave the nest to find their parents and food.

Also, some fledglings are too heavy when fledging time comes. They must lose some weight before leaving the nest.

As one other visitor said, it would be very rare that something happened to both adult birds. Which would be about the only way the nest of young would be abandoned.


Jul 28, 2011
by: linda in PA

The parents will incubate the eggs for 10-14 days,then after hatching, take care of the young in the nest for another 10-14 days. Then the young and parents leave the nest, before the young can fly, and the parents feed the young for another two weeks or so.

Jul 28, 2011
baby wrens
by: Anonymous

I have listened to the babies calling out to their parents all day yesterday and again this morning I am VERY worried about what might have happened to the pair of parents. They are in a bird house outside my kitchen window that has been used by these wrens for years!

Jun 19, 2011
Abandoned wrens return
by: Elsa in Ontario

Had a similar issue today. Babies were crying for parents all morning and they were no where to be found. I was sure the babies would be dead by morning.

After looking around, I found the adults building a new nest in another house I had set out the previous year. They HAD abandoned their first nest!

I quickly took down house number 2 and watched as they circled in confusion looking for their new digs. After about 1/2 and hour mom found her way back to the screaming babies in the first nest. She went into the house and was there for a good minute or two. I was really curious to see what would happen.

She emerged, and rose to the challenge. She collected insects non stop all day and fed the little guys until I could actually hear them getting louder (stronger). I won't put out another house until these guys have flown the coup for certain.

One hypothesis I have is that these birds tend to make two sets of babies a summer at our place. They were late in getting started this year due to odd weather.

I wonder if something was telling them that today is the day to make nest number 2 and maybe that led them to abandoning the first nest? Any thoughts?

Jun 05, 2011
Carolina Wrens abandon nest
by: Cynthia in Ohio

Carolina Wrens built an amazing nest on a shelf in my enclosed breezeway, left it about a week, and came back to fill it with eggs and dutifully hatch them.

After several days of attentive feeding, they disappeared for 14 -16 hours yesterday, just before a set of harsh thunderstorms that lasted for hours with lots of rain and winds.

I left the door to the breezeway open until 2 am, hoping they'd come back late, and reopened the door at 6:30 am, after just 4 hours closed, hoping they'd arrive early in morning.

The pair just showed up at 8:30am, with lots of calling and shrieking as they took turns checking out the babies, who are now clearly dead.

My thought is to put on a disposable glove and removed the dead babies and leave the nest. Will the wrens use the nest again another time?

Jun 20, 2010
Orphaned Baby Wrens
by: Diane

Look at the article "Raising Orphaned Baby Wrens"-on this website. Hope that helps. Good Luck.

Jun 13, 2010
Wren No Parents
by: das

Hi, I was looking for an answer and saw the same thing. I have a nest that the parents have left and the baby wrens are still there. O is out and it fly's some, I'm thinking they decided it's time the kids be on their own and left. Don't know!

Jun 22, 2009
3 baby birds 1 dead
by: Anonymous

I have been watching these birds make their nest and care for their young then all of a sudden the parents were gone. There are two babies alive and weak, one is dead. What can I do to help? I think they are wrens of some kind. Thanks

Jun 14, 2009
That is worrisome
by: Bonnie

Since you've seen neither parent, that is worrisome. It would take a lot for both to be killed at the same time. Do you have any clues as to how old the babies are? I just found out they are ready to leave the nest within 10-14 days after hatching. They grow fast!

In Memphis, an organization called Wild Wings Rescue will help if birds are found injured or if a nest of babies is abandoned. You might try the local ASPCA or ask area veterinarians if they know.

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