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.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Will wren abandon the nest?

We had a wren house that fledged 4 babies on 8/1... After we brought the house in to clean it only to see a wren perched on the birdhouse pole trying to figure out where their house went to...

OMG! So I ran downstairs to the basement and brought the house back outside...still not cleaned yet on the inside (only the nest removed). They hopped in and out and then flew to the neighbor’s yard to build a nest. Darn! I just didn't know they would try to nest in the house immediately afterwards. The day the babies fledged was 8/1. They came back yesterday on 8/2!!!!

I have learned a valuable lesson the hard way. Next time...if there is ever a next time, I will wait til late October before taking down the birdhouse to clean. Currently one of the adults is bringing a couple of the fledglings around our gardens and still feeding them. So my question is...will they try and build a nest in the house the same time next year, or did I ruin that prospect?

Wrens can be tricky. I’m fairly sure that you weren’t seeing the same two birds nesting again in the same box. Either male or female may leave their first mate to finish up raising the young alone and seek a new mate for a second or third breeding attempt during a season. Males can build several false nests and, if experienced, may even have a couple families going at the same time or consecutively. Females may also leave the male with the young to start another family with a new male.

But even though they didn’t choose your box for the late nesting, putting it back up may have sealed the deal for a female to nest again. Females have all the power in choosing a mate and in northern populations and only settle with males in control of territory with more than one potential nest site.

Wrens and chickadees are good at emptying out an old nest but it is always good to check to make sure the nest doesn’t have any unhatched eggs or pests between clutches. A thorough cleaning can be done in the fall. Most nesting is done after Labor Day in my area.

Once you clean and refurbish the house I’m sure you will have another resident next spring. It sounds like you have a good habitat for them to raise young. In northern populations, few pairs stay together from one brood to the next or from one season to the next season. Mate-switching is very common. With all the successful baby birds in your area there is bound to be a female that finds your home enticing.

Source:  https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/houwre/behavior
Related Articles:
Cute Woolie Bird Houses!
Male vs female House Wrens http://male and female wrens.html
Do the same House Wrens nest in the same house every year? http://bit.ly/uDBbIb
Quick Fun Facts on Wrens http://bit.ly/v5XVoU
Hanging & Placement of Wren Bird Houses
House Wren vs. Carolina Wren

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