If you’re hoping to attract nesting birds to your yard, then wrens are a good choice. These energetic little songbirds are not afraid of people, and they take well to nesting boxes. In this article, we’ll talk about where to hang a wren house and how to attract families of wrens to it year after year.
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What Direction Should a Wren House Face?
Wren houses, like other types of bird houses, should be placed in the best possible location for shelter, food, and water.
When positioning your wren house, it should face away from the prevailing winds, so generally the opening should be toward the south or east. It depends on your location though; some areas may experience more winds from the south, in which case the wren house should face toward the north.
If you’re not sure about the direction of prevailing winds in your area, pay attention to what direction the wind seems to blow most of the time. Then, place the wren house facing away from that direction.
It’s important that your wren house should face away from the wind so it is sheltered; otherwise, the wind will be blowing in through the opening and may wreak havoc on the nest inside. Facing into the wind would also make it more likely to allow blowing rain and hail inside.
Wrens are sensitive to cold weather, so facing the wren house away from the wind will allow the birds inside to stay warm and keep out of the elements.
Where Should Wren Boxes Be Placed?
Wren boxes should be placed about 4 to 10 feet above ground, mounted on a pole or the side of a house, barn, or tree. Sometimes wrens don’t mind a swinging house, one that hangs from a tree or post, but most often, they seem to prefer those that are mounted.
Wrens are friendly birds and generally don’t mind human activity, but you don’t want to place their nesting boxes too close to the busiest or noisiest areas around your house. For example, it’s okay to place a wren house on or near a porch, as long as you don’t place it too close to the front door.
It’s good if there are trees or shrubs nearby the wren house to provide the birds with shelter, cover, and places to look for food, but don’t place the house too deeply buried in the leaves and branches. Wrens prefer easy access to their nests and may not find your nesting box if it is too well-hidden by foliage.
It’s also a good idea to place the wren house in a spot where it gets plenty of sunshine early in the day but is more shaded in the hottest part of the afternoon. This will allow the wrens inside to stay warm enough without becoming overheated.
Should Wren Houses Have a Perch?
Wrens don’t need perches. Their small talons are strong and can easily grab onto the sides of the house without the help of a perch.
What’s more, perches can allow predatory birds and other invasive animals more easy access to the box.
If you bought wren houses with the perches built in, it would be best to remove these perches before mounting or hanging the houses. If you’re building your own wren houses, simply make them without adding perches.
How Do You Attract Wrens to a Wren House?
Of course, just because you put wren houses in your yard doesn’t mean the wrens are going to use them. How can you make your yard and the wren houses appear more attractive to any wrens that may discover them?
Let’s look at some tips for getting wrens to choose your wren house.
- Put houses up in early spring: You want to make sure your wren houses are already in place by the time wrens return from their migration and begin their nesting activities. Part of the mating ritual is for male wrens to select several potential nesting locations for his mate to choose from, so having your wren houses ready from the earliest parts of spring is extremely important.
- Put houses near suet feeders or other food sources: Having a ready food source nearby is a huge selling point with the wrens. Placing your house near berry bushes, sunflower plants, or suet feeders will help the house stand out.
- Leave bugs alone: If you have a lot of insects in your yard, such as crickets, caterpillars, and spiders, don’t try to get rid of them. Wrens prefer to eat insects over any other food source, so having plenty of bugs in your yard will make the wrens want to stick around.
- Make sure there is a water source: Wrens like having a clean, reliable water source for drinking and bathing. Setting up a bird bath, and keeping it filled with clean water, will make your yard a popular place for the wrens.
- Provide nesting materials: Wrens use old leaves, grass clippings, moss, feathers, and other soft materials to line their nests. If you choose to clean up your yard debris after winter, leave small piles of it near the wren box so the wrens have a ready supply of nesting materials.
- Keep the box clean: Most of the time, wrens don’t reuse the same nest year after year, and you may find yourself attracting a new wren pair each season. To keep your nesting box in top shape, clear out the old nest each fall or winter and make sure the wren house is cleaned up and ready for the next pair of occupants by next spring.
- Keep other animals away: If you have cats, dogs, or other pets, make sure the nesting box is out of their reach. In fact, it’s best to place the wren house in a location far from where your animals frequent so they don’t end up scaring the wrens away.
For more information on how to attract wrens to your yard, check out this video:
What Foods Do You Put Out For Wrens?
Wrens eat a number of things but have their preferred foods. These foods include insects, fruits and berries, nuts and seeds.
If food is scarce, they will also eat a number of preserved foods, such as dried mealworms, crushed peanuts, and suet cakes.
Keep a wide variety of these foods in your yard, and you are sure to attract any wrens that may be passing through the neighborhood. Maybe you’ll even be able to convince them to stay.
Do Wrens Eat From Bird Feeders?
Sometimes, but not often. Wrens prefer to eat their food on the ground or in trees, especially when there are plenty of insects available.
Wrens may eat from bird feeders in the winter when there are fewer insects available, but it’s important to remember that they will not be building nests during this time. Unless you live in a warmer location, you may not even have wrens in your area during the winter.
In other words, bird feeders will not necessarily attract wrens to your yard. That said, wrens do sometimes enjoy suet feeders, especially early in the year when there are not a lot of insects yet.
If you are setting up wren houses in your yard, make sure they are facing away from prevailing winds, and place them in an area where the birds will have plenty of food, water, and shelter. Each winter, after one wren family has left, clean out the nest so it is ready for the next batch of occupants by the following spring.
5 thoughts on “Where To Hang A Wren House?”
I am planning to put a wren house in the backyard. This article is really informative, thank you for sharing.
I would like to put up 2 wren houses. How far apart should they be?
I have a wren who is trying to build a nest in front door wreath. I have removed those efforts 3x. Could I put up a wren house close by and if so how do I attract them to it? Would be just a couple feet away. Thank you!
Aww….I’d gladly sacrifice a wreath for wrens. We had a Carolina wren who used ours years ago and we were thrilled to watch them. Lucky you….
Yes, they really don’t mind people! I have a pine cone wreath that I put up on the garage each year just for the birds. I always get several families of wrens or house finches.