The Wren House is one of the most common types of birdhouses in the backyard garden.
Whether you're considering buying or building, the information below will help you attract, house and enjoy watching these birds even more.
House Wrens are cavity nesting birds and will readily make use of man-made wren bird houses. Let's face it, Wrens will nest in just about anything.
But to give them the best chance at nesting success we need to provide a properly constructed Wren House. This means knowing the correct height, width, and hole size dimensions.
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Most birds are attracted to a natural looking nest box.
If you plan on purchasing or building one, make sure that the wood used in constucting the house is a naturally decay resistant wood such as cedar, redwood, or exterior plywood or recycled plastics.
Avoid purchasing any nesting box that is painted dark colors as they can hold heat. Fence boards can be used if house is kept in shade. They are a little thin for heat protection.
Copper arsenate has been fazed out and only used in marine applications so treated wood is okay to use. It doesn't hurt to check with your lumber provider to be sure.
Wrens will use a house that has an entry hole dimension of 1 1/8 inches, any larger and house sparrows and other less desirable birds will use them.
The floor should be 4 inches square and 3-6 inches below the entry hole.
Do not add or buy any birdhouse with a perch. The birds don't need it, whereas preadators and other less desireable birds will have easy access if perches are used.
The roof should be slightly slanted to shed water and keep the contents of the nest dry. For a more traditional style, the front and back can be cut as an A frame.
Each side should provide for ventilation. Drill 1/4 inch holes on the sides of the house just under the roof.
Also make sure there is adaquate drainage in the bottom of the nesting box by drilling 1/4 inch holes in each corner of the bottom of the wren house.
The side or front should slide or swing open for easy cleaning.
The plan below is a very common example of a house but if you'll notice, the plan calls for a 1 by 6 by 4 inches when it should state a 1 by 6 by 4 feet not 4 inches. A common board of 1 inch by 6 inches by 8 feet will give you enough lumber for 2 houses.
Mount or hang the house five to ten feet high in or near a tree or shrub. House wrens seem to prefer areas with some trees and shrubs.
Make sure to place the house on an outside branch and not deep into the foliage. Heavy ground vegetation and wide open areas should be avoided.
House Wrens prefer some brushy area nearby but not surrounding the nestbox.
Like most birdhouses, Wren Houses should be faced away from prevailing winds, which for most in the US is East, North, South, and then West would follow.
Keep in mind, birds are not going to read this and may choose North first.
A through cleaning at the end of the season or a late winter cleaning is a good idea. This cleaning will get rid of any overwintering ectoparasites.
Studies have shown that males will often remove the inner lining of the nest before renesting occurs. Sometimes, entire nest are removed.
If the inner nest lining is heavily soiled and cemented to the rest of the nest, it may be wise to remove it by hand.
A quick check after the young fledge is all it takes to see if this is required.
Studies also show that pairs may not reuse the nest site if the male is unable to remove the nest lining.
It's important to offer housing that can be cleaned. Mites and parisites can overwinter in birdhouses and harm or even kill the nestlings.
More information about our recommended Wren House can be found here: Woodlink Wren House