Attracting Wrens to your Back Yard

May 2, 2010

The male house wren arrives in late April or early May from southerly wintering grounds to establish a spring nesting site. He will stake out a territory of up to one acre — threatening, chasing and even fighting intruders from his claim. While males wait for females to arrive, they become devoted nest-builders. An individual will build up to a half dozen nests to let birds in the area know there is no vacancy at that site. When the female arrives, she chooses just one nest and she will then completely rebuild the nest twig by twig.

Wrens have been known to nest almost anywhere. Nearly any hole a wren can get into is an appropriate place to build – a flowerpot, a mailbox, a boot, an abandoned woodpecker hole, a basket, even a pair of pants on the clothesline.

Wrens will also readily use a man-made house. The hole opening on a wren house should be between 1 and 1-1/4 inches. The wren, one of our smaller birds, will have no trouble getting in a hole this size but starlings, house sparrows and predators won’t be able to enter.

House wrens feed almost entirely on insects. They will also occasionally visit a feeder which offers suet, peanut butter, cornbread and white bread crumbs.

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