House Wren

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Genus: Troglodytes
Species: aedon

La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
Gr. trogle hole or hollow
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. dutes burrower
iGr. troglodutes cave dweller
Gr. aedon songstress, nightingale

Four to five inches. Brownish cinnamon gray with lighter gray underside.

Barred wings and tail with light fringes.

Slightly downward curved beak. Often upturned perky tail, especially when excited.

Painting of house wren perched on a stump in typical attentive tail up stance
Lives in woodland edges, groves and very often in or near buildings in farms, towns and suburbs from northern British Columbia and Alberta to southern Quebec and throughout most of continental US. Migrates to the southern United States and Mexico for the winter.
Range map shows wrens breed throughout most of the US and Southern Canada
Male builds several nests almost anywhere out of almost anything to entice a mate who replaces one nest with her own, usually of fine twigs and lined with dried grasses or other soft material.
Nests have been found in tree cavities, barns, martin houses, tin cans, jars, planters, hanging clothes, paper bags, hats, shoes, pipes, cars and even old cow, horse, and oxen skulls. If the cavity they choose is large, they will fill it full. They like bird houses and various building nooks and crannies.
Wrens will return to selected nesting sites year after year.

The female lays around five to eight, more or less, usually seven, speckled, oblong to nearly spherical eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks.

Eats insects and spiders it finds in trees, shrubs, brush piles and on the ground.

Bubbly singer, yet easily irritated. Will not share its territory with others of its kind and boldly challenges intruders near its nest.

When scolding strangers its beak is wide open, its tongue vibrating, and body trembling with the violence of its effort.

Painting of a house wren perched on a twig, a birdhouse, field and trees in the background
Wrens are one of the easiest birds to attract to nest boxes including in cities (probably after robins). Trees, shrubs and gardens for cover helps to increase chances.
The House Wren Birdhouse (same as for Bewick’s Wrens, Winter Wrens and Brown Creepers), has a 4″ by 4″ floor, 8″ inside ceiling, 1 1/4″ diameter entrance hole located 6″ above the floor and ventilation openings.
Suspend hanging wren houses with a few inches of wire so that they swing from tree branches or under eaves or mount nest boxes on trees, fences or walls between four and ten feet high with partial sun and shade. Remove the nests after the brood rearing seasons are over.
Because male wrens build several nests for the female to choose from, hanging several nest boxes may create a more attractive area.

Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and other wrens may use these nest boxes. These species may also nest in boxes with slightly larger entrance holes.

House wren song written to sheet music.

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House Wren

Painting of house wren perched on a stump in typical attentive tail up stance

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Troglodytidae
Genus: Troglodytes
Species: aedon

La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
Gr. trogle hole or hollow
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. dutes burrower
iGr. troglodutes cave dweller
Gr. aedon songstress, nightingale

Four to five inches. Brownish cinnamon gray with lighter gray underside.

Barred wings and tail with light fringes.

Slightly downward curved beak. Often upturned perky tail, especially when excited.

Lives in woodland edges, groves and very often in or near buildings in farms, towns and suburbs from northern British Columbia and Alberta to southern Quebec and throughout most of continental US. Migrates to the southern United States and Mexico for the winter.
Range map shows wrens breed throughout most of the US and Southern Canada
Male builds several nests almost anywhere out of almost anything to entice a mate who replaces one nest with her own, usually of fine twigs and lined with dried grasses or other soft material.

Nests have been found in tree cavities, barns, martin houses, tin cans, jars, planters, hanging clothes, paper bags, hats, shoes, pipes, cars and even old cow, horse, and oxen skulls. If the cavity they choose is large, they will fill it full. They like bird houses and various building nooks and crannies.

Wrens will return to selected nesting sites year after year.

The female lays around five to eight, more or less, usually seven, speckled, oblong to nearly spherical eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks.

Eats insects and spiders it finds in trees, shrubs, brush piles and on the ground.

Bubbly singer, yet easily irritated. Will not share its territory with others of its kind and boldly challenges intruders near its nest.

When scolding strangers its beak is wide open, its tongue vibrating, and body trembling with the violence of its effort.

Painting of a house wren perched on a twig, a birdhouse, field and trees in the background
Wrens are one of the easiest birds to attract to nest boxes including in cities (probably after robins). Trees, shrubs and gardens for cover helps to increase chances.
Select to view and print wren house plansWren House Plans
The House Wren Birdhouse (same as for Bewick’s Wrens, Winter Wrens and Brown Creepers), has a 4″ by 4″ floor, 8″ inside ceiling, 1 1/4″ diameter entrance hole located 6″ above the floor and ventilation openings.

Suspend hanging wren houses with a few inches of wire so that they swing from tree branches or under eaves or mount nest boxes on trees, fences or walls between four and ten feet high with partial sun and shade. Remove the nests after the brood rearing seasons are over.

Because male wrens build several nests for the female to choose from, hanging several nest boxes may create a more attractive area.

Chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and other wrens may use these nest boxes. These species may also nest in boxes with slightly larger entrance holes.

House wren song written to sheet music.

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