Wrens are small and look almost completely round, with short neck and their stout little tails often held completely vertically against their body. Their legs look especially thin and long against their rotund bodies, and they are warm brown in colouration, with a lighter eye stripe and pale underbelly. Wrens have barring across their body and a long thin bill. It is difficult to tell the difference between ages and sexes, as they all look so alike.
Average Length: 9-10 cm
Average Lifespan: 2 Years
Average Wingspan: 13-17cm
The wrens diet is mainly insects and spiders, but they will eat a variety of foods, including seeds and berries during the autumn and winter months. Chicks are fed mainly small spiders and beetles.
How to feed: Bird feeders and tables
What to feed: Dried mealworms, suet, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.
During springtime, male wrens establish territories and begin building the nest, normally in the roots of upturned trees or closer to the ground in dense cover. Each wren will generally build more than one nest, so they can attract several females for breeding with. The nests are dome-shaped and made mainly of moss, twigs, leaves, and grass, and lined with feathers. Once a female has chosen her male, she will occupy the nest and the first clutches are laid between April and the end of June. Wrens have 2 broods annually, each clutch containing 5-6 eggs that the female will incubate for around 16-18 days. Fledging will occur around 2 and a half weeks after they have hatched.
Wrens are listed as amber species on the birds of conservation concern species list, however only particular subspecies are in decline, including many that reside in the outlying Scottish islands. Cold winter weather has been shown to reduce survival in wren populations, and so extreme weather events (such as cold snaps) may have long-lasting effects on these populations if they occur more frequently.
Supplementary feeding on bird tables
Provide fresh, clean water available year-round
Keep your cats indoors during dawn and dusk as wrens can become casualties of cat hunting
Did you know that on the 26th December there is a tradition in Ireland known as ‘the wren hunt’? This is an ancient ritual used to celebrate the winter solstice, though variations on this are seen across the British Isles. Originally, people used to hunt wrens on this day and display them on a pole that has been lavishly decorated. Now, a fake wren is used to keep with the tradition, rather than hunting a real one.
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