Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

House Wren

Troglodytes aedon

house wren at gourd House wren in a maple tree

Both house and Carolina wrens are permanent summer residents in our yard. These tiny powerhouses are amazingly energetic, vocal, and sometimes quarrelsome. House wrens always nested in the workshop and various other outbuildings, as well as on the front porch and in whatever nestboxes suited them. While they offer a great source of entertainment, they became quite lethal to our bluebird population several years ago. Luckily, they were so taken with the gourds that we offered, that they now usually ignore the wooden bluebird boxes.

House wren House wren on branch
2010 update - House wrens are once again usurping nest boxes in our yard, but only in shaded areas. They have caused nesting failures of titmice two years in a row. The bluebird and tree swallow nest boxes in direct sunlight are not bothered. I have neglected to keep as many wren gourds available in recent years.

House wren 2012 update - This year, house wrens have discouraged tufted titmice from nesting in a box hung from a branch in a maple tree by the garden. In 2011, a house wren removed the first egg from the titmouse box, causing them to desert. This year, the titmice tried to nest in the same box, but gave up and moved to a more distant fence row.  The garden wrens are also claiming all empty bluebird style boxes mounted on posts in the open. Sticks are quickly added to any vacant box and wrens are even fighting among themselves for occupancy of these boxes. The bluebirds and tree swallows have successfully nested in the post mounted boxes, thanks to their constant vigilance. Their nestbox is never left unguarded. But, the wrens claimed two of the three boxes after the first brood.  I've been negligent in placing wren gourds in the fence rows near the garden the past two years, which is likely why the wrens have resorted to nesting in the post mounted bluebird boxes out in the open.

house wren on purple martin gourd rackHouse wrens even invade the purple martins' territory, trying to claim an unused gourd.  And they have sometimes destroyed Northern flicker eggs and even visited a kestrel nest box where the nestlings were larger than the wren. See the flicker and kestrel pages for accounts of these events.

Wren gourds a boon to bluebirds?

2002 wren nestbox cam and wren raid

2014 wren gourd project

2022 update - Return of the barn owls
2021 Chimney Swift tower success!!!
2020 Barn Swallow nesting
Barn swallow nest cups
2019 Barn Swallows and Black Rat Snakes

2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
Black rat snakes vs barn swallows, Northern flickers, kestrels and others

2018 Purple Martin preference for clam shells
2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
2017 Purple Martin prey photos
2010 - 2016 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
2019-2020 Purple Martin nesting
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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