About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cleaning & Placement of Wren Bird Houses

Hi
I left my birdhouse up with the old nest from last year. I will be upset if I don't get a wren this year. Do they not use old nests? What should I do?
Thanks. ~ Ellen


Actually, the presence of an old House Wren nest may encourage the wrens to re-nest in the same spot. A male House Wren may lay claim to a nesting cavity by filling it with more than 400 small twigs. If the female likes what she sees, she will then take over, adding the nest cup and lining it with grass, inner bark, hair, and feathers. Wrens will usually lay 2 broods in the nesting season from May to July.

The male House Wren builds several starter nests and the female is the one that chooses which she prefers. The other nests may be used by the male to raise a second brood with another female or remain in place to discourage other male wrens from nesting in the same territory.

So what should you do? If you don’t see any wren activity, I would clean out the nest but leave a few starter twigs. Hopefully this will encourage a bright young male to start building.

Sarah,
Thanks for your reply. It was the middle of June last year when the Wrens came. I decided to clean out the nest as I have not seen any activity. I leave the birdhouse up all year round; it's hanging under my front porch. I still have the old nest twigs, so I'll put a few inside of it. Should I push the twigs inside or leave them sticking out? Here is a photo of last year's bird.

I got a few inexpensive bird houses at a crafts store; one is in the shape of a bird with a larger opening, about 1 3/4 inches wide. Is there any special place to hang them?


When you clean the house leave a couple sticks poking out the door. House wrens prefer their houses hanging from a small tree in the middle of a yard, or along the border of an open yard. They often choose houses closer to ground (5-10 feet) in open woodland close to twiggy bushes to give them cover and nesting material.

Birdhouses can be stationary or left swinging. The entrance hole should be 1 ¼ inch in diameter to keep out House Sparrows. If you purchased a house with a larger hole or it has been expanded by squirrels or other birds, we have metal portal protectors. Wild Birds Unlimited’s round 1-1/8" and 1-1/4" metal portals are suitable for the chickadee and wren houses and prevent sparrows from entering the house. Also avoid perches because wrens don't use them and they could be used to help predators gain access to the nest.

Thanks for the photo. I hope you have success.

3 comments:

  1. Wow very nice! I had one repainted last week and it's really nice to have bird houses back home because it gives a different ambiance with the garden or house. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Need help in selecting a good pair of binoculars. Basically for back yard. Can you help?

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    Replies
    1. Answer these questions to get a better handle on what you really need:

      How much magnification do you need?
      Making the image 8 or 10 times closer with binoculars is the most popular choice.

      8x binoculars work well in all terrain and in a wide variety of situations because images tend to be brighter with wider fields of view. The large view makes it easier to follow fast moving birds in thick woodland environments, scan for animals from a distance, and to follow action in sporting events or at the theater.

      10x binoculars give you more detail for viewing raptors, waterfowl, and large wildlife, and are preferred for observing at longer distances and in more open terrain. Keep in mind that you need a steady hand. It takes very little hand tremor to affect your view.

      Do your binoculars need to be waterproof?
      Most standard binoculars will stand up to light rain and humidity. But if bad weather is a possibility, then get a waterproof binocular.

      Will you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses?
      Constantly taking your glasses on and off is not only frustrating, but it will slow you down when tracking fast-moving birds. Twist up eye cups allow you to twist the eye cups up to give you the perfect eye relief when you aren’t wearing glasses and twist down the eye cups when you wear glasses.

      Full Size Binoculars or Compact?
      Compact binoculars (like Vortex 8x26 binoculars) are small enough to fit in a pocket while you're at work in the yard. These small binoculars will be bright enough for daytime use and, if light gathering isn't an issue, are easier to travel with and take along for walks, concerts and football games.

      Full-Size Binoculars (like EO Denali 8x42 or 10x42 binoculars) will provide better image quality than compact binoculars. Full-size binoculars will gather enough light to show good color and definition from dawn to dusk.

      Our most popular binocular is:
      Eagle Optics Denali 8x42 Roof Prism Binocular

      Field of View: 408 feet/1000 yards
      Eye Relief: 18 mm
      Close Focus: 7.0 feet
      Weight: 21.9 ounces
      Dimensions (HxW): 5.4 x 5.0 in.
      Weatherproofing:Waterproof/Fog-proof

      The Denali's crisp, contrasting views work hard when scanning across open fields for raptors and other wildlife. Phase correction enhances resolution, contrast, and overall sharpness. Fully multi-coated lenses provide maximum brightness and true colors.

      Rugged, sleek and elegant in form, the redesigned Denali is waterproof and fog proof for durability you can count on in any weather. Waterproofing seals optics against water damage. Fog proofing prevents fogging of internal lenses. Ergonomic styling provides comfortable handling. Twist-up eyecups adjust for full-field viewing even with eyeglasses.

      The Eagle Optics Denali 8x42 Roof Prism Binocular comes with:
      Rainguard, tethered objective lens covers, neck strap, carry case, and an Eagle Optics Platinum Protection Unconditional Transferable Lifetime Warranty.

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