Attracting a Nesting Bird: Carolina and House Wrens

Learn how to attract a nesting bird by picking the right nest box for Carolina and House Wrens.

Rob Ripma

It’s always neat to have a nesting bird in your yard, and Carolina and House Wrens are some of the most fun to attract. They are energetic songbirds with wonderful voices making them the perfect backyard companions. There are a couple things that you can do to be sure to have the perfect nesting box for these species:

Carolina Wrens are a very exciting species to have nesting in your backyard.

Carolina Wrens are a very exciting species to have nesting in your backyard.

1. Use a box with a 1 and 1/8″ hole. This is the perfect hole size for allowing these species nest in the box without having nuisance birds such as House Sparrows attempt to take over the house.

This Carolina Wren is roosting in a birdhouse with a hole that is much larger than it would choose for nesting season.

This Carolina Wren is roosting in a birdhouse with a hole that is much larger than it would choose for nesting season.

2. These species do not require a lot of room to build their nests so a small box is okay to use.

3, As with all bird houses, be sure to clean out the house each fall. Once the last brood of the season has fledged, pull out all of the old nesting material.

4. You can increase your chance of attracting a pair of Carolina Wrens by creating a brush pile in your yard. This will give the wrens plenty of spots to hide should a predator approach their nest.

  1. Treva Jennings says

    I am an avid gardener and read a number of “fillers” for potted plants.
    I have to add my 2 cents worth to a bottom filler for potted plants. I have used the foam packing peanuts you
    get from shiped iterms. Some stores have large amounts of them from unpacking items, Dillards is a great place to find them. Find what day they recieve thier cosmetics, they always have lots of peanuts that they simply toss. Save your plastic grocery bags which are light weight.
    NEVER just put the peanuts in the bottom of your pots. Fill the bags with the peanuts tie the tops closed and place in the bottom of your pots
    You can control the space needed by the size you make the bags or use more than one.
    Your pots are light weight and they drain great and the bags of peanuts will last for a number of years.
    I have used this method for years and it works beautifully. AND no loose peanuts flying around when you want to empty the dirt and replant.

  2. Leslie says

    This may sound strange for a Carolina Wren nesting place but I saw it online and tried it in a pinch. It lasted 3 full seasons. The adorable wrens were trying in vain to make nests along the drainspouts outside the kitchen window. I came across an “emergency” nesting option which employed an empty cylindrical Quaker Oats container! Cut a small window in the side, encased container in plastic sleeve to give some protection from water and hung it under eave on drainspout right outside kitchen window. Lo and behold Carolina Wrens checked it out and used it for three straight years. Having the tiny, adorable wonders right outside the window so very close where we could see them coming in and out as well as their adorable babies was a remarkable treat. We were sure to turn off the light over the sink as soon as dishes were done but they adapted remarkably to being in close proximity to people and the added light at night. Memories of “test” I shared with my late father and will always treasure. Not the optimal solution but when all the other nesting boxes my father made for the yard were always taken up by Black Capped Chickadees the Carolina Wrens were at least given a dry, cleaned out place to nest and fledge their young. Those longish curved beaks and stubby tails flicking up are irresistable.

  3. says

    I have in the past few years had Carolina Wrens. When the eggs hatched the sparrows in our yard harasses the young and parents alike…any thoughts as to where to place the birdhouse to keep this from happening, is this common practice for sparrows?

  4. Connie K. says

    My Carolina wrens nested a few feet from my back door in a great big (for them) bluebird box. They have built a nest for this year and I haven’t peeked, but I’m sure have laid or are laying eggs already (Tulsa, OK)

  5. Carolyn Goddard says

    I have a wren nest on my back porch every year in the top of a flower arrangement that I have hanging on the wall. I love to watch her. She sort of fusses when we are on the back porch but we give her way until her babies fly.

  6. Colleen says

    My 85 year old mother used to make Wren houses out of coconuts. They were just the right size for the little birds. She had one hanging in the lilac bush by the kitchen window so we could watch the babies being fed and grow and finially fly. Always made doing dishes much more enjoyable

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