House wrens are noisy birds

“Jenny Wren” is the tiny, busy, noisy, bustling, brown bird familiar to town garden and farm door. Maybe “Jenny” was the term of early settlers for an incessantly scolding housewife?
The Chippewas called it “big noise for its size.”
At first glance, the house wren seems to be a model of industry. It builds half-a-dozen nests for its mate, it lives on insects which it catches from dawn until dark, it sings almost incessantly, raises three or four broods a year, and generally seems a happy little mite.
But it has a dark side, like all of us. It will evict other birds from a nest box, destroy their eggs, kill their young ones, and drive off the adults.
This includes a lot of birds we like, such as bluebirds and tree swallows, as well as English sparrows and starlings.
The house wren does not have any really distinguishing marks about it. It is just brown (its breast a bit lighter) and very small. It has a short tail, which is sometimes down, but mostly standing straight up.
Its song is a rapid chattering series of notes, not very beautiful, but still somewhat musical. It is a compulsive singer, and will repeat its phrases over and over again—even in the heat of a summer noon.
When angry or alarmed, it produces a buzzing, scolding sound—always accompanied by much fluttering and dashing here and there.
The wren’s nesting habits are really unique. When a male wishes to attract a female, he will build a nest in six or eight different locations. When the female arrives, he will take her to each of these.
If one suits her, she immediately throws out all of the stuff he has provided and they start all over again.
Wrens will nest in anything—tin cans, flower pots, holes in trees, nesting boxes—anything. Audubon captured this spirit when he showed wrens nesting in a discarded top hat.
The first thing a pair of wrens do when making a nest is to fill up all of the available space with junk—twigs, leaves, grass, even nails, paper clips, and string. The actual nest if very soft, lined with grass, hair, and feathers.
Families run from four-10 or even 12, and with three or four broods a year at that! The male bird often is polygamous and may have several families on the go at one time.
Their food is almost entirely made up of insects—and they are insatiable eaters. One documented case was that of a male bird whose mate had been killed. He fed the family by himself.
By actual count, in one day he made 1,217 trips to the nest with insects—an average of one trip every 45 seconds during daylight.
You can’t beat that for being conscientious.
There are three other wrens in this area, but this is the only one you are likely to see a lot of. The house wren (Troglodytes aedon).
He will sing all day for you—and might very well build a nest in your mailbox.

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