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House WrenHouse Wren

House wrens can be attracted with food, and water.  If you have trees and shrubs they may nest in your yard.  During nesting season they are loud, bold and very active,  becoming quiet and reclusive in winter.

Identification and Pictures

(Classification: Troglodytes aedon)House Wren
House wrens are about 4 1/2 to 5 1/4 inches.  This is a small stubby, brownish gray wren with darker barring on the wings, and tail.  They have pinkish legs, a light eye ring, and the beak is curved slightly downward.  They are very energetic, often cocking their tail over their back. 

Males and females are similar.  There are varying subspecies.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

SongHouse Wren
The House wren's song is a quick gurgling, rising and then falling at the end, heard during nesting season.  It calls a rapid prrr, and a harsh cheh cheh.  If you get too near their nest this pugnacious little bird will scold you with their beak open and their body trembling.

Sound 1
Sound 2

Rrange and Habitat

House wrens can be found from southern Canada across most of the U.S. in summer.  They winter in southern U.S., and Mexico and are resident year round in southern California, southern Mexico and South America.  They like open woods woodland edges, brushy areas, orchards and back yards.

Nesting and BreedingHouse Wren
Male wrens will build several nests for the female to choose from.  When a female arrives, he sings excitedly, with trembling wings, and will lead her to the nests for her inspection.  She will inspect each nest, and after she picks one she may rebuild parts or all of it.  They build a cup nest of sticks, and grass in a cavity, and line it with feathers and other material.   The normal nest site is a natural cavity or possibly one made by a woodpecker, but they will build in almost anything that has a cavity.  They often nest in birdhouses, and having several around may make an area more attractive. During nesting season they are loud, bold, and very active, becoming quiet, and reclusive in winter.

Females will incubate 5-8 white or pinkish eggs, speckled with brown for 12 to 15 days.  The young birds are fed by both parents, and will fledge in 15 to 18 days.  The birds may have more than one brood.


House wrens feed almost entirely on insects, many which are harmful to man.  They may also feed at suet feeders.

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.
To learn about other favorite birds click here.

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