One thing I enjoy about birding is that you can do it anywhere. There are no specific places you need to be. You can find all sorts of interesting birds, and don’t even have to leave your own backyard.
I don’t actually have a “backyard” but I because I live in an apartment complex. But I do have a nice large balcony that looks out over a lawn with some trees and live next to a wooded area, so I see a decent amount of birds.
I don’t really know my human neighbors that well, but I certainly know my avian neighbors. Over time I get to know the resident birds and their habits and am excited when new species move into our area. This spring/summer a new couple has moved into the neighborhood: the House Wrens.
Every morning, one the the wrens (I like to call him my “little friend Wren” haha) sings out from my balcony. I was honored that Wren chose our balconies of all the ones he could have chosen from. Then I noticed that Wren had a plan, and it was sneaky. (Below is a fuzzy cell phone picture of Wren on my balcony)
Wren is trying to take over my nest box. He likes to sneak in but doesn’t succeed for very long. The male House Sparrow who resides there always kicks him out. Wren is pretty persistent though and usually will try multiple times before flying off. He’s not afraid to put up a fight either. It makes for quite a spectacle.
This has been the summer of the wren for me. I have been seeing Carolina, House, and Marsh Wrens pretty frequently, but my neighbor House Wrens are my favorite so far. So in honor of my little friend Wren and his mate, here are some fun facts about House Wrens.
- Despite being a plain-looking brown bird, House Wrens are anything but dull. House Wrens are energetic and bubbly little birds. They move quickly, fluttering about with their tails straight up in the air. Their songs are just as lively as their personalities. They let out an exuberant, trilling song that ascend then descends. (If you’ve never heard a House Wren, I suggest you look up their songs. It’s delightful!)
- They may only weight about the size of two quarters, but if you’re a bird you better watch out! House Wrens are fierce competitors when it comes to looking for nest sites. If they want a certain spot they will harass larger birds, sometimes even killing the young that is already in the nest.
- Breeding House Wrens choose new mating partners each season. To persuade a female to court with him, a male will prepare multiple nests. Single males may try to steal a female from another male after nesting has already begun. If the single male succeeds, he will get rid of the former male’s eggs so he can have his own. Females may leave the male to take care of the chicks to start a nest with a new male.
- House Wrens have the largest range of any New World songbird. Their range extends from Central Canada and all throughout North/Central America and can go down to the southernmost tip of South America.
- House Wrens earned their names because they tend to live close to humans and in man-made structures.
Who is your favorite avian neighbor? Tell me about them in the comments.