Build a Wren House!

Wrens often nest in bird houses. You can buy wren houses from gardening and bird feeding stores, or you can build your own. To increase your chances of getting a wren to nest in your box, set it 5 - 10 feet above the ground, in a tree or near shrubbery. Wrens are the only birds likely to nest in a dangling nest box, but they also select boxes that are firmly anchored on a pole or fence post.

There are many kinds of wren houses, and many plans for building them. Here is one excellent plan for building a wren house.

The most important thing to remember in building any nest box for House Wrens is to make the entrace hole hole no bigger than 1 1/8 inch. House Wrens can easily pass through a 1-inch hole, and making it just an eighth of an inch bigger allows chickadees in, too. If the hole is any bigger, House Sparrows can also get in. Many people love sparrows, but they often kill adults birds, and destroy their eggs and nestlings, to take over a nest box.

Should you provide more than one bird house? It won't necessarily get you more wrens, but may increase your chances of at least one of your wren houses being selected as a nest site. Male wrens build stick nests in every spot they think might work for raising babies. But that doesn't necessarily mean that eggs and baby wrens will ever live in there! When a male attracts a female to his territory, he shows her all his stick nests, and she picks her favorite one. If she doesn't choose one of your bird houses at first, be patient. In most places, wrens nest two or even three times in a season, and may well select your nest box then, or maybe next year.

Wrens don't always nest in wren houses. They often choose bluebird boxes. At least once a pair of tiny House Wrens nested in a huge Wood Duck box! And they sometimes pick even stranger nest sites. Here is a list of some of the places wrens have nested:

  • woodpecker holes
  • empty cow skull
  • abandoned hornet nests
  • deserted swallow nests
  • fishing creels
  • watering pots
  • old hats
  • tin cans
  • teapots
  • flower pots
  • old boots
  • shoes
  • nozzle of a pump
  • iron pipe railing
  • weather vane
  • holes in a wall
  • axle of an automobile that was driven every day
  • woodpecker holes
  • glove compartment of abandoned cars
  • garages
  • shelves
  • mailboxes
  • pockets of old coats
  • covers of propane tanks