House Wren

Troglodytes aedon

The House Wren is the most widely distributed wren in the Americas. We can find it from Canada to South America. In North America it is migratory, except in a few locations as coastal Southern California, where it is resident. In winters these birds find their way into the southern USA states and some travel deep into Mexico. When spring approaches, they turn their way north and spend the breeding season in the northern 3/4 of the USA and range as far north as the prairie provinces of Canada.

House Wrens nest in cavities, both natural and man-made, and are fierce competitors for nest sites. They will attack much larger birds, destroying eggs and even killing adults, to dominate desired nesting locations. Birds such as swallows, bluebirds, chickadees and others suffer nest failures because of these tiny firecrackers. In my experience, nearly every birdhouse I place on my property in Southern California will host a House Wren family, even though I get Bewick’s Wrens year-round. When spring comes, I can count on the bubbly song of the house wren at each nest box.

Science recognises four living subspecies of House Wren, plus four more thought to be extinct or nearly extinct. Those four subspecies still with us are the Northern House Wren (in Canada and USA), the Southern House Wren (in Central and South America), the Brown-Throated Wren (in southern USA and Mexico), and the Cozumel Wren (on Cozumel Island, MX).

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