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July 12, 2014 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Juvenile House Wrens

I have four small nestboxes in my yard, and usually the wrens will choose one of them for their brood. This year the House Sparrows are overly abundant and have been chasing the wrens away. The wrens moved to the yard next door and my neighbor confirmed there were nestlings in her bird house.

Female House Wren

Female House Wren

A few days ago I heard chattering in the back of my yard and found momma wren and three little ones. The little guys were sitting on the fence, presumably wanting to be fed. Mom was chattering, as female wrens often do. The male was perched on top of the garage, singing.

Juvenile House Wren

Juvenile House Wren

The young wrens looked like they had been out of the nest for a few days. They were almost full-sized and their tail feathers are growing in, but they still look like babies. Their first set of feathers have a scruffy look and their beaks are not yet fully developed. The gape, which allows them to open their mouths wide when fed in the nest, is still visible. It disappears in adults.

Juvenile House Wren

It looked like mom was trying to teach them to feed themselves. There are lots of yummy insects in the wood chips along the fence – if only they would go down there and get them. I don’t think this little one was interested – a few seconds later he closed his eyes as if to take a short snooze.

Fledgling House Wren

Fledgling House Wren

Several years ago wrens nested in my yard. I was able to get a few photos from a distance as they emerged from the box. Notice the very short stubby tail and tiny wings compared to the juveniles in the photos above.

A common backyard bird

The House Wren is a common bird across the Americas. North American birds will migrate to the southern US and Mexico for the winter, and return to the Northern US and southern Canada for the summer breeding season. They are common in backyards and readily use nest boxes along with flower pots, old cans or boxes, pieces of gutter, shoes – they are very flexible.

You can usually hear wrens before you see them. The male has a loud, cheerful song and will often sing from sun up to sundown.

To attract wrens to your yard, put up several small nest boxes or gourds with an entry hole 1⅛ to 1¼ inches. Anything larger than that will be taken over by House Sparrows. Also, add a small brush pile or leave an area ‘natural’ for cover and foraging for food.


Saturday Snapshot was originated by Alyce at At Home With Books. It is now hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

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Leave a Comment
  1. laurelrainsnow / Jul 12 2014 10:46 am

    Thanks for sharing. The wren looks like an interesting bird that might be overlooked.


  2. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz / Jul 12 2014 11:21 am

    There is something about a baby bird that is so…well, touching. When I see one, my heart opens up and I almost want to cry, I feel so happy.


    • Leslie / Jul 12 2014 3:04 pm

      Yeah, they are so cute with their baby faces and stubby little wings and tails.


  3. acuriousgal / Jul 12 2014 11:55 am

    I think my elusive bird in my last post might be a juvenile wren. That would make sense since there is a nesting box nearby. Although, the bird I captured seemed bigger than a wren, but the face looks the same as the one you posted above. Go see what you think if you have a moment🙋


    • Leslie / Jul 12 2014 3:01 pm

      I took a look and I think it’s an Eastern Phoebe or some type of flycatcher. I left you a link.


  4. Anne / Jul 12 2014 12:13 pm

    Enjoy your bird photos as per usual. You are so talented with the lense. Here is the link to my photo essay of the week:


  5. Sheila (Book Journey) / Jul 12 2014 2:54 pm

    We have had lots of interesting birds in the yard this year but I never seem to catch them with my camera 🙂


    • Leslie / Jul 12 2014 3:00 pm

      Many birds that I only glimpse for a week or so – like the warblers – are on their way through the Great Lakes flyway heading to the forests of Minnesota and Canada to nest. I’ll see them again in October on their way south!


  6. diane / Jul 12 2014 5:43 pm

    Adorable capture.


  7. Arti / Jul 12 2014 5:51 pm

    Although they’re common, I wouldn’t know how to ID them even if I see one. But usually the common ‘house birds’ for me are sparrows. Don’t think I’ve seen any Wrens close to home.


    • Leslie / Jul 12 2014 6:02 pm

      From a distance they are just another fast-moving, tiny brown bird. When I hear them sing, I start looking around. ID them by the tail up in the air. That’s a classic wren posture. Even the little guy was doing it right out of the nestbox.


  8. Sandra Nachlinger / Jul 12 2014 6:59 pm

    Beautiful photos. Thank you for the link to the bird’s song too. I’ll start taking a closer look to see if we have wrens in our backyard.


  9. BermudaOnion / Jul 12 2014 8:02 pm

    I think I saw one on the railing of our deck the other day. They look so sweet!


  10. irene / Jul 13 2014 9:02 am

    great facts, I wish I knew what was singing in my yard all day and early in the a.m. and you are right if the hole is large, other birds are not so nice.


  11. Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post / Jul 13 2014 12:16 pm



  12. Ginny / Jul 13 2014 12:39 pm

    What lovely shots. I wonder if they are as small as the British wren.


  13. Louise / Jul 14 2014 10:15 am

    We have the gorgeous Splendid Fairy Wrens here. I’ve not seen house wrens before. How wonderful to have them nesting so close- wonderful to see the fledglings and watch them develop.


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