Welcome Nesting Wrens With Wren Bird Houses
Attract nesting Carolina wrens and house wrens by picking the right wren bird house. Find out what kind of bird house wrens prefer.
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Attract Wrens to Nest in Bird Houses
Courtesy Benjamin Cash
It might surprise you to know it’s the male wren — not the female — that kicks off the nesting process when he returns in spring. His cheery song is a declaration of claimed territory, and he’ll usually want that territory to be in a bushy area with lots of cover. He’ll build multiple partial nests in wren houses or natural tree cavities. When a female finds a home she likes, she’ll mate with the builder.
To attract a wren to nest in your yard, bird experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman suggest allowing an area of your yard to get a little wild or unruly. Then put a wren bird house there. To really help wrens out, the experts say you can offer nesting materials like moss and small twigs.
Since their diet consists mainly of bugs, you’re not likely to attract wrens to feeders, but Kenn and Kimberly say wrens will come to a bird bath with moving water such as a dripper or a small waterfall.
Backyard Tip: Though house wrens are notorious for building nests just about anywhere, it’s best to provide them with nest boxes that can be easily cleaned and are separated from ones meant for different bird species.
Learn how to identify Carolina wrens and house wrens.
How to Choose the Best Wren Houses
As you might already know, wrens aren’t too picky about nesting sites. As Kenn and Kimberly note, any cavity from mailboxes to jean pockets is fair game to them. But if you’d like to give your wrens a special place to nest, consider buying or building a wren bird house.
These nest boxes are small and frequently made of wood, with an opening hole between 1 and 1-and-1/8 in. diameter. Measurements may vary slightly, but generally, the floor should measure about 4 in. by 4 in. (or 4 in. by 6 in. for the base), and the box should be about 8 in. tall. Natural wood and white are good color choices for wren houses.
Boxes should be placed 5 ft. to 10 ft. off the ground to protect birds from predators, or hung in a tree.
Fun fact: Wrens prefer homes hung on low tree branches and are one of few species that tolerate swaying bird houses. The same as any other bird house, wren nest boxes should be cleaned out in fall after the last brood of the season leaves the nest.
“After I hung a gourd birdhouse in one of the pines near my garden, a house wren (above) almost immediately began building a nest. It was fun to see her family each day when I went out to check on the garden,” says Glynda Stanley of Laurel Fork, Virginia.
These photos of wrens are sure to make you smile.
Where Can I Buy a Wren Bird House?
Plans for building your own wren nest boxes are available from Project Nestwatch. If you’d rather buy a bird house than build one, there are also plenty available for purchase online. Frequently, these homes are also suitable for nesting chickadees.
Handmade Wren House
This adorable little nest box is perfect for a nesting bird. Handmade from cedar, you can mount it on a pole or hang it from a tree. (The chain in the photo is not included).
Nature’s Way Cedar Wren House
This durable cedar wren house features stainless steel hardware and air vents for the birds. Plus, a 1-1/8 in. hole ensures larger birds — like cowbirds — can’t get in.
Rustic Wren House
Wren families will love this wooden bird house that looks like a rustic barn. The tiny 1 1/8 inch hole is just big enough for the birds, but small enough to keep out predators. Plus, there’s no perch, which helps deter house sparrows. The bottom panel opens up for easy cleaning.
Next, learn what a Carolina wren call sounds like.