Homeschool Garden Club - Wrens

When bird watching how do we know which birds we are looking at? One of the ways is to learn who might be visiting and what they look like.

Wrens can be found across the UK in a wide range of habitats - woodland, farmland, heathland, moorland and islands. Most are found in deciduous woodland but it is least abundant in Scotland and northern England, with the smallest numbers found in upland areas. They are a regular visitor to most gardens. That’s last sentence is the important bit. According to Garden Bird Watch data, which has been collected since 1995, they are most frequently seen in March in around 42% of gardens, that means almost half of our garden will have a visit from this lovely little brown bird.

Wrens have declined slightly in gardens. However, as this species is very susceptible to cold weather, numbers do fluctuate from winter to winter. In order to compensate for this, they are capable of producing several large broods in a year.

Think you’ve spotted a Wren in your garden? Here is how to tell.

A wren is small in size and mostly brown in colour. They have brown upperparts and brownish-buff plumage underneath. They have a small tail that is often held vertically and a pale line above the eye. The bill is quite long, pointed and slightly curved down.

Although they’re quite common, they’re still a lovely sight to see, with a round body and pointy tail. Due to their small size and skulking nature, they can be quite easy to overlook at times. However, their loud songs and calls often give them away.

You can find them in woodland and other areas with lots of undergrowth. They’ll usually lay and raise two broods between March and August. Generally, their nests are made from moss and grass close to the ground. If you happen to come across their eggs, they’re white in colour with faint brown specks.

What Do Wrens Sound Like?

Wrens have a hard, clicking call. Their song is typically fast with a high trilling phrase. Both the call and song are surprisingly loud for such a small bird. You can visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/wren/ to hear the sound before going out into your garden to listen for them.

What Can I Do to Help Wrens in My Garden?

Provide food and fresh, clean supply of water for them. Also, put up nest boxes for them in your garden. Wrens nest between April and August and have two broods in a year. They tend to lay up to six eggs that are incubated for around 18 days. The young then fledge after another 19 days. Wrens will use open-fronted nest boxes. Size: base 150 x120mm, front 150mm x 140mm Siting: 1-3 metres off ground, well hidden by thick vegetation.

What Do Wrens Eat?

Insects (especially small beetles) and spiders, typically taken from or close to the ground. Want to keep these little birds well-fed? Their diet consists of insects and small seeds. On average, Wrens live for around two years, they will do better over harsh winters if we take care to feed them and keep water supplies unfrozen.

What Predators Do Wrens Have in Gardens?

The main predator for the wren is the Sparrowhawk (scientific name Accipiter Nisus) which means it is part of the kites, hawks and eagle family group. All of which we look out for on our Walking the River Thames adventures.

This bird guide has been written in collaboration with experts at the British Trust for Ornithology. To find out more about their vital work, visit: www.BTO.org

Don’t forget to record this in your evidence diary either under Garden Club is your just feeding these little birds but if you are going to listen for them identify them and put up a nest box to encourage them.


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