Nest box: House Wrens

Many gardens in the U.S have House Wrens pleasantly signing away. These tiny but boisterous wonders of nature will take up residence is just about any nesting box.

You know those cute little nesting boxes shaped like cats….well House Wrens will gladly use those. House wrens are very aptly named because they like to nest near humans. If you hang a box or a cat shaped nesting cavity outside your front door you have a pretty good chance of attracting a House Wren. Another part of the nesting behavior of the House Wren is that they will build ‘fake’ nests in several cavities while using only one nest.

The easy way to tell if you have a House Wren nesting in your box is to look for sticks sticking out the front of the entrance. House Wrens place hundreds of small stick inside the box and they pretty much close off the entrance hole except for a small gap towards the top of the box. If you look inside you won’t be able to see the back of the box. This approach makes it very difficult for a predator to get to the babies who are housed right at the back of the box in a small cup. I bought a Walmart Wren box and modified it so I could open the back. What I saw amazed me. The whole box was filled with sticks and you couldn’t even see the eggs from the back.

Once I pulled back the sticks I found 7 eggs in a tiny little cup. The eggs are a pinkish white, with small spots or blotches of reddish brown. Most seasons my Wrens have at least 6 eggs and mostly it goes up to 8 and sometimes 9. I have 2 kids and I take my hat off to these little guys.

I popped back in to check on the Wrens yesterday and found tiny little babies in the box. I snapped a few quick photos and then left mom and dad to continue their feeding duties.


Lynne said...

I've never seen inside my wren's nests. They sure are cute little buggers!

HANNIBAL said...


dguzman said...

WOW! Great photos! I'm guessing it's too late now, but I'll definitely put up some boxes next year!

Owlman said...

Hi all,

Yeah, having a peak into the lives of these little but always busy guys is a real treat. I am actually thinking of modifying my remaining Wren boxes which are all occupied with House Wrens....not sure what the average density of these little peeps is, but I sure have a lot of them on one acre!

Neil Gilbert said...

Great shots! I love the one with the little babies.