House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.
The House Wren is a very small songbird of the wren family, its range is from Canada to southern most South America, and is thus the most widely distributed bird in the Americas. It occurs in most suburban areas in its range and it is the single most common wren.
This bird’s rich bubbly song is commonly heard during the nesting season but rarely afterwards. In fact, the best way to locate house wrens is to listen for the male’s almost constant singing during the nesting season, as they are easier to hear than see.
Bubbly and energetic, just like their songs. Look for House Wrens hopping quickly through tangles and low branches and, in spring and summer, frequently pausing to deliver cheerful trilling songs.In summer, House Wrens are at home in open forests, forest edges, and areas with scattered grass and trees. Backyards, farmyards, and city parks are perfect for them. In winter they become more secretive, preferring brushy tangles, thickets, and hedgerows.
The nesting habits do not seem to differ significantly between the Northern and Southern House Wrens at least. They usually construct a large cup nest in various sorts of cavities, taking about a week to build. The nest is made from small dry sticks and is usually lined with a variety of different materials. These include: feather, hair, wool, spider cocoons, strips of bark, rootlets, moss, and trash. The male wren finds dry sticks, which he adds to the nest. Once he is done, the female inspects at the nest; but if she does not approve of the construction, she will throw any unwanted sticks to the ground. After this process, the female lines the nest. Nest cavities are usually a few meters above ground at most, they may be natural, old woodpecker nests, or man-made, often using bird houses. House Wrens will gladly use nest boxes, or you may find their twig-filled nests in old cans, boots, or boxes lying around in your garage. As the season progresses their nests can become infested with mites and other parasites that feed on the wren nestlings. Perhaps to fight this problem, wrens often add spider egg sacs into the materials they build their nests from. In lab studies, once the spiders hatched, they helped the wrens by devouring the nest parasites.
House Wrens are feisty and pugnacious animals considering their tiny size. They are known to occasionally destroy the eggs of other birds nesting in their territory by puncturing the eggshell. They are also known to fill up other birds’ nests within its territory with sticks to make them unusable.
House wrens lack the fairly prominent pale eyebrow of other species of wrens.
They eat a wide variety of insects and spiders, including beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, and daddy longlegs, as well as smaller numbers of more mobile insects such as flies, leafhoppers, and springtails. Also eats snail shells, probably for the calcium they contain and to provide grit for digestion.
On to my photos:
This is number 62 in my photo life list, only 288 to go!
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!