Baby House Wrens!

We’re home! Judy and I got home just last night from the Upper Peninsula. There are a lot of developments in the garden, almost all positive, which I’ll get to soon. However, we’ve spent much of today doting over the baby House Wrens in the yellow birdhouse right outside our back porch.

Baby House Wren waiting for a home-delivered nosh.

I only ventured out for about thirty minutes at a time, because today has been miserably sweltering. Finally I gave up and spent most of the day with Judy, reading and watching the birds outside the back porch windows. They are better than Netflix!


We were aware that at least one House Wren had been living in the yellow birdhouse, but we weren’t sure if it was a bachelor pad or a fixer-upper for a young family. The latter conclusion was suggested as we watched both adult Wrens flit back and forth delivering caterpillars and various other insect tidbits.


Then we saw the baby Wrens – first one, then two together. Wrens lay clutches of between 3 and 10 eggs. Could there be more babies in there? We couldn’t really tell.


Apparently being a bird parent is exhausting! The ecologist Doug Tallamy watched a pair of Chickadees (another small songbird) spend 14  hours a day delivering insects to their offspring in the nest. He calculated that it took between 6,000 and 9,000 insects to raise a clutch of Chickadees to maturity. This is one reason why you want plentiful insect life in your garden.

We noticed there is now an adult wren living in the blue birdhouse as well.


According to Cornell University’s All About Birds website, House Wrens can have one or two broods per year, so maybe between our four birdhouses there are many more avian grandchildren yet to come!

48 Comments on “Baby House Wrens!”

  1. So cute and how lucky are you to have them in your garden. Great shots! Wrens (of all sorts) are fun to watch! Glad you mentioned Doug Tallamy and reminded all of us to tolerate insects in the garden–they do all sorts of good.

  2. Fortunately, they are outside. When I lived in town, birds sometimes came inside to nest. I would evict the doves before they got too set up. However, tiny birds that looked like these wrens nested in my shower and started a family before I knew it! I could not evict them. I was more careful to check my houseplants after that. Some of the ficus were really big.

    • Apparently they are pretty similar. This is from Cornell University:
      Behavior Foliage GleanerA busy forager in low tree branches and shrubs. You’ll occasionally see these birds flit across openings with steady, level flight, or investigating the ground with quick hops. Male House Wrens start building several nests at once in hopes of persuading a female to mate with him. Pairs typically break up by the end of each nesting season and choose new partners the next year. House Wrens are aggressive. Single males sometimes compete for females even after a pair has begun nesting. In about half of these contests the outsider succeeds in displacing his rival, at which point he usually discards any existing eggs or nestlings and begins a new family with the female.

  3. One of my favorite things to do is watching the Wren House activity. We have two nests in our garden. Both have fledged a family. I believe there will be a second nesting in one of our houses. The male builds in about every house that is out there hoping that his lady love will find one of the nests he has created to be the perfect place to rear young. She shops around with him accompanying her until she finds the place she prefers.

  4. You have great photos. My house wren was acting like a woodpecker, so when he left i went and checked out the house. Seems something, probably a squirrel, tried to drag a tiny baby out of the nest and killed it. Its head was nearly torn off. I cleaned up the nest and he was right back rebuilding it. Haven’t seen any babies cause it’s too hot to go outside and look.

  5. I love watching birds. We feed them and have many different kinds. No House Wrens but lots of House Sparrows. Right now the Hollywood Finches are in town, they are my favorite. We have lots of trees for nesting but this year put up two bird houses.

  6. Hooray for successful wren house hunting! Great shot of the eager little mouths. I have an enormous chickadee nest in one of my birdhouses, now empty. They were living in it earlier this spring, but I was so busy with the garden I never even noticed if they successfully raised babies.

  7. Aren’t they too sweet ! .. We didn’t really have wrens until a few years ago and we fell for them like a ton of bricks .. their little songs endeared them to us .. such sweet birds I can well imagine the babies are even cuter .. we thought they occupied one of our birdhouses too but not sure if they were just using them as decoy houses .. I read some where they tend to do that. We do have a second batch of babies from our robins but this time they decided our big maple tree would be cooler and less obvious .. I think they made they right choice ! haha
    Hope the babies (and parents) do well !

  8. What a lovely surprise to come home to….and possibly more babies to come! They look very cute waiting for food….poor parents must be exhausted by the time they are ready to leave the nest. Great close-up photos, hope you can get some of them learning to fly…

  9. I was introduced to Doug Tallamy through a video shown at our native plant society meeting. He included that statistic about the number of insects needed to support a single family. I was astonished, and the importance of the gardens for more than pretty flowers became obvious. Happy wren watching!

  10. Sweet little babies! What a great way to end s vacation. Phew! Being a bird parent sounds exhausting. That’s a lot of insects. Our backyard is aflutter with birds. Lately we have noticed a big drop in the mosquito population. I wonder if there is a connection.

  11. Hello Jason, how amazing to be raising a family of birds in the garden. It must be wonderful to watch them flitting back and forth with food. We don’t have birdhouses in the garden yet, though we don’t appear to have a shortage of food – the birds have discovered the various berries on Fruit Avenue and we’re now competing for the pickings. Sometimes I wonder how we’ve affected the local populations of birds, insects and other wildlife simply from having the garden exist.

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