Wrens are a wonderfully tiny bird that we're lucky enough to have dotted throughout the UK.
Their call is exceptionally recognizable to anyone that has lived in the UK for a long time, though their beige and white coloration is a little harder to spot.
In this article, we're going to talk about the Eurasian wren, a wren that only occurs in the 'old world', and, in the UK, is simply referred to as the 'wren'.
Wrens are very small birds, with the name 'tiny bird' being given to them very regularly. They're such a small bird, in fact, that it's actually hard to consider it.
When perched, they measure only nine centimeters long! When in flight, their wingspan reaches up to seventeen centimeters, which is still a spectacularly small size.
The wren is a tiny brown bird that lives throughout the UK. It's sometimes overlooked in the sense of being a small bird since it's a little larger than the goldcrest, which is slimmer and squatter.
The wren is quite dumpy for such a small bird, so the point of being very nearly rounded.
It has a sharp, short bill designed for fine movements, and some fairly long legs and toes. It also has short, round winds, and a narrow tail.
You may recognize this bird a little better if you consider that they often have a cocked tail - the angle makes things slightly more recognizable for a number of birdwatchers.
The wren's call
The wren makes a stunningly loud song for such a small creature, and that call is often very easy to hear in the countryside of the UK. In fact, it's the call that you're possibly most likely to recognize.
Wrens live in a number of different habitats throughout the whole of the UK.
The only spots that they tend not to live in are very highly mountainous regions in Scotland and some regions of Northern England.
They prefer deciduous woodland over other forms of habitat, but they'll happily live anywhere. In fact, they're frequent visitors to gardens!
How long do Wrens live?
On average, a wren will live for two years, and see two breeding seasons, in which they form and raise a bird family.
Male Wrens & Female Wrens
Physical differences - What do Wrens look like?
Male and female wrens are exceptionally similar. The only differences, really, are between younger and older wrens.
Generally, juvenile wrens are smaller and a little redder across their body. With that said, though, it's often quite hard to tell the difference.
Behavioral differences are the only way to reliably tell the difference between male and female wrens.
Most of the time, the male will have a loud voice, standing proud and shouting out their song.
However, after her newly fledged brood has hatched, the female wren (also called a jenny wren) will become louder.
It's unclear why they do this, but female wrens do become noticeably louder and more protective of their stuff and territory after the brood has fledged.
When do Wrens Nest?
Wrens' nesting season begins in late April and can take place in a nest box near bird tables, or in domed nests that the male wren has built.
What does a Wren nest look like
A wren nest is quite unique in construction. Essentially, they're similar to homemade nest boxes!
The dome of the nest is constructed from moss, lichen, leaves, and other items. It's typically placed in a tree hollow, or a similar space.
What makes a breeding season longer?
Climate change has a noticeable effect on breeding seasons.
This is often seen with some of the early breeding birds, which come out as soon as it's warm enough to do so.
This has an effect on the noisy wren, which can have a longer breeding season if it's enticed into breeding by slightly warmer weather.
Baby Wrens and breeding
The start of the nesting process
Wrens are, of course, very active for such a little bird. The male wren might make a wide range of different nests throughout its territory, not thinking at all about the process involved in such a thing.
Instead, it will simply build the nests, and allow other birds (the female wren) to choose which nest it would rather use.
What do Wrens eat
Wrens can eat a number of different things, from insects, spiders, and tadpoles, to seeds and nuts. It's interesting considering the typical menu for a wren since they're the only species of wren outside of the US.
This means that their food options are sometimes a little different from alternative birds. With that said, though, their main food source is insects, spiders, and similar creatures.
Less common food options
This is less common, but wrens eat suet cakes during the winter when they're essentially scrounging for calories wherever possible.
When can you see Wrens?
One of the best spotting tips for any birds out there is that they're most commonly seen near their food source (insects, in this case), and during their mating season.
Therefore, from April to July, look out for their paler underparts, which can sometimes catch your eye if they're flying overhead.
Wrens, by virtue of being small, have a number of predators throughout their habitats, whether they're in a city or in upland areas of the countryside.
The most common predators of wrens are mammals that are happy to eat meat. This includes cats and rats, primarily, as well as birds of prey.
What does a Wren sound like
A wren has a very loud call, typically a chirping whistle that may warble a little as they sing. It's quite hard to define, but worth looking up online - their song is loud and beautiful!
How to attract Wrens into your garden
The best way to attract wrens into your garden is with their favorite food source: insects. This means that the best way to attract wrens is generally to use mealworms.
Mealworms are affordable and easy to get your hands on, so we would recommend tracking them down at the start of April, ready to be spread during late April, when the mating season will begin.
Five facts about Wrens
Wrens commonly eat by hopping around on the floor to search for insects and spiders.
Their scientific name 'troglodytes' means cave dweller. This name is likely derived from the fact that their nests are small holes with only one entrance and exit.
The population of the little birds can be badly affected by a particularly harsh winter, but because they lay so productively, they can bounce back in only a few years.
Only the female incubates the eggs in the clutch, since the males are polygamous, and will fly between several females in different nests.
An average clutch of wrens can contain up to nine eggs!