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House Wren

House Wren
Photo by: 
Mary Nemecek

The House Wren has been described as the smallest bird with the mightiest voice. They are very small birds and, like all wrens, they do sing a lot.

Many of you know them as Jenny Wrens and potentially have had them nesting in your backyard for years. They are the subject of this week’s article because I expect to hear a male singing any time now.

The males generally arrive first in the spring and seek out potential nesting cavities. He likes to have several choices to show off a female when she arrives. He will fill then all with small sticks and begin singing from various points of the territory he has claimed. When he attracts the attention of a female, he will lead her around to the potential nesting sites in hopes of gaining her affection. If he is successful in winning her favor, she will arrange the sticks to her liking in one nest box. He will likely use another site to roost in at night and will defend them all against anyone else using them.

She will likely lay 5 eggs and start her incubation process. Once that bunch of young ones are old enough they will nest again this summer, often in one of the other boxes. They may be small but they are ferociously territorial and are known to break the eggs of other species that nest too close to their territory. Don’t ever place a wren house near a bluebird or other nest box.

Mark McKellar

Bird of the Week: April 22, 2019