The wren is a tiny brown bird, although it is heavier, less slim, than the even smaller goldcrest, it still only weighs the equivalent of a £1 coin. For such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice often singing from bush tops. It is the commonest UK breeding bird, although it suffers declines during prolonged, severely cold winters
What They Eat & What You Can Offer Them
Wrens eat spiders and insects which they find while hopping and dashing along the ground and probing in crevices with their long thin bill. When they do venture out into the open they dart from one place to another.
They will occasionally take seed or cheese from a ground feeder table. They do particularly like a regular supply of mealworms.
Where They Live & How You Can Help Them
Wrens are always poking around in piles of dead vegetation, walls with ivy or stacks of logs, so leaving some areas of you garden untended and undisturbed will provide ideal habitat for them.
The male bird constructs several globe-shaped nests in holes in walls, banks, trees, or old nests from leaves, grass and moss. When the female has chosen a nest, she lines it with feathers.
Incubation is about 15 days, and whilst only the female incubates, both parents feed the young.
Wrens will use open-fronted and tit nest boxes, both for nesting and winter roosting. Remarkably approximately 60 have been recorded roosting in one box. In our photo you will see a wren who is particularly good at recycling a bug box!
Their scientific name, Troglodytes, means “cave dweller” in reference to their behaviour of probing in dark crevices. On the outlying Scottish western Isle of St Kilda there is a small colony of wrens which are now considered to be an entirely independent race.
Thanks to David Pitman for writing about the Top Garden Birds and John Harding for the photos