Wrens are beautiful and interesting birds that many people want to attract to their backyard. However, if you don’t know the particulars about what wrens prefer it could make it difficult to attract them.
In this quick guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know, including where to hang a wren house, so that you can attract these birds into your own backyard and have them singing for years.
We’ll advise you on what makes a good house for wrens as well as the best places in your yard for placement. We’ll also show some examples of different types of houses available on the market today and which ones we recommend based on customer reviews.
By the way, if you click on a link and then make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
- Where in the U.S. Will We Find Wrens?
- What Are Some of the Characteristics of Wrens?
- How Do Wrens Construct Their Nests
- What Is the Best Size and Shape for a Wren Bird House?
- How and How and Where to Hang a Wren House
- When Should Wren Houses Be Put Up?
- Tips if You Are Building Your Own Wren House
- Highly Rated Bird Houses to Purchase
Where in the U.S. Will We Find Wrens?
Wrens can be found all over the United States. However, some places are more likely than others to see these birds than others.
The house wren is found throughout most of the United States and Canada. There are nine other species in addition to the house wren:
Bewick’s Wren – you’ll find them in western North America
Rock Wren – located in the rocky canyons in western North America, and native to South America
Carolina Wren – you’ll be able to see this little wren mostly in the eastern U.S. as well as Central America
Sedge Wren – they can be found across North America, but they move around a lot and you may see them one year, and not the next.
Pacific Wren – they can be found along the west coast from California to Alaska
Winter Wren – this little bird breeds in the eastern part of North America and winters in the southeastern states.
Canyon Wren – you’ll find them in western North America as well as Mexico and British Columbia.
Cactus Wren – the largest wren in the U.S. can be found in the southwest as well as in Mexico.
Marsh Wren – you’ll find them in marshy wetlands in the U.S., Canada, and their native Mexico.
What Are Some of the Characteristics of Wrens?
Wrens are quite interesting little birds! Some of the characteristics of wrens include:
- Very social and quickly drawn to bird feeders, even when people are nearby.
- Fond of building their nests with pet hair, moss, lichen and other soft materials.
- Quite talkative for such tiny birds! Their song is one that we all recognize and they sing throughout most of the year.
- They are cavity-nesting birds; some will build their own structures but others will be happy to check out a structure such as a wren house if it is built to the specifications that they prefer
- Wrens will guard their nesting sites aggressively, so providing them with more choices is a good thing!
How Do Wrens Construct Their Nests
Wrens are truly one of the most interesting birds in terms of the construction of their nests.
Some will build them out of mud, moss, grass, and straw while others will use more unconventional items such as string, human hair, or pet fur.
A male wren will build a nest and then perch nearby to attract a female. They may build several nests before a mate shows up and will often line their nest with deer hair before the eggs are laid. In fact, a male wren will typically take over every one of your nest boxes if you put several in your yard.
Why do they do this? Males build a variety of starter nests for the female to choose from, filling all accessible areas with 3- and 4-in. twigs. She does a “walkthrough” before choosing one and finishing the nest herself.
What Is the Best Size and Shape for a Wren Bird House?
Wren birdhouses can be any size, but a 6-8 inch total height is a good rule of thumb.
An entry hole slightly larger than the norm will allow the wrens to include their typical nesting materials, which vary in size and shape.
The shape of the wren house itself is not important, as long as it offers room for the birds to build their nests and roosts comfortably while also avoiding predators that might invade or larger songbirds that could prevent them from entering.
Wren houses are most commonly diamond-shaped with wide sides, but it doesn’t matter what shape the house is as long as overall dimensions are suitable.
In addition, check to make sure that your wren house (whether purchased or DIY) has enough ventilation and drainage holes to keep the wren families comfortable.
How and How and Where to Hang a Wren House
- You’ll want to place your wren house from 3 to 10 feet above the ground
- Wrens seek areas with some trees and shrubs. Make sure to place the house on an outside branch and not deep into the foliage.
- Hang the wren box on a pole if that works better in your yard, just remember the other tips for placement.
- The nesting boxes may be hung relatively close to a porch or deck, as these little birds don’t mind the human activity as long as it is not the most active place in your yard.
- House Wrens prefer some thick bushes with good cover nearby but not surrounding the nest itself.
- Try to keep the entrance hole facing away from prevailing winds as wrens can be sensitive to the cold
- Some sunlight in the morning would be helpful for the wrens, with shade in the hottest part of the day.
- House wrens seem to prefer areas with some trees and shrubs.
- Heavy ground vegetation and wide open areas should be avoided. House Wrens prefer some brushy area nearby but not surrounding the nestbox
- Be sure to remove perches nearby that could invite predators to invade the wren box.
When Should Wren Houses Be Put Up?
Early spring is when the wrens may arrive to begin investigating nesting locations, so get your wren houses up before then.
If you are re-using an old wren house, clean out the old nesting material before putting out the nest box.
Tips if You Are Building Your Own Wren House
If you are going to build your own wren house, keep in mind that wrens prefer a natural-looking bird house, not painted.
A decay-resistant wood is preferred, such as cedar, exterior plywood, or even recycled plastics.
Avoid wood that has been treated with copper arsenate, because this can be dangerous for their health.
If you’re feeling industrious and want to start building a wren house today, here are some free plans.
Highly Rated Bird Houses to Purchase
Do you need a wren house for your backyard? Here are some suggestions that are well-rated for construction and durability:
Wrens are beautiful little birds that can be easily attracted to your backyard with the right type of wren house. We’ve given you some tips on what size and shape to make your bird house, as well as where to place it for the best results.
Make sure to put up your nest boxes early in spring so the birds have time to investigate and choose a nest site before laying their eggs.