What Do Wrens Eat? Feeding Nature

What Do Wrens Eat

Wrens are in the family of passerine birds that includes 88 species spread across different environments. 

Most wren species are small and are known to be the shortest birds in England and their complex and loud songs.

Ten species of wren are found in the US, and most of their population is in North America. You could want to attract wrens to your house, and you are wondering about what they eat. 

Let us look deeper into the bird’s life to get an answer for this;

What Do Wrens Eat?

Wrens are mostly insectivorous. They spend most of their time hunting spiders and small insects like bugs, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and some types of caterpillars. 

They can also eat some seeds like sunflower pieces, small amounts of suet, mealworms, and peanuts. Peanuts are a favorite of wrens, so they like peanut-based suet.

Can You Keep A Wren As A Pet?

Wrens are tiny birds with insane vocal cords. There is a variety of species, and they have different colors and songs. 

It is understandable that you could want to keep a wren as a pet but can you? Wrens are not the best choice for a pet, and it is in most countries illegal to keep wrens as pets. 

Their cuteness should not fool you; they are wild birds and not a choice for house pets for several reasons.

First, the bird is small in size and delicate. Having it in your house and holding it tightly could easily impale or kill the bird.  Another factor is the bird’s social nature.

Wrens mostly live in pairs during the breeding season and in flocks the rest of the time. Tearing a bird away from the rest will be harsh and could affect the bird’s health.

Wrens are loud singers; their songs are beautiful to listen to outside the house but not so much inside. 

The constant and loud chirping will not make for a good in-house experience for you. Wrens are amazing, but it is best to let them stay in the wild where they belong.

How To Attract Wrens Your Garden

You could be disappointed to know that you cannot keep a wren as a pet, but there is a silver lining. 

You can attract wrens to your garden or backyard and have their companionship just like you would with a pet.

Wrens are small, and most of the species are plain. They will entertain you with their songs, and they are pretty beautiful to look at, but that is not the limit of their use.

Wrens will help get rid of insects around your garden by eating them since they are primarily insectivorous.  The most common wren species are house wrens and Carolina wrens which have the same needs.

Like all other birds, you can attract wrens to your house by offering them the necessities. These include shelter, food, protection, and water.

The specifics will differ depending on the wrens you want around. For instance, house wrens like small spaces; they can live in birdhouses about 8 inches high with six by 4-inch bases. 

The entrance ought to be small, about an inch in diameter, just enough to keep bigger birds out while letting the small wrens in. It would help if you placed the birdhouses 6-10 feet above the ground.

Hang the birdhouse on branches of small trees to make the birds feel safer. Ensure the house is in the shade and the entrance is facing away from the direction of the wind to make the birds more comfortable.

The best birdhouse should be made with rough-sawn and untreated wood, preferably cypress or cedar. It should have ventilation holes on top and drainage holes at the bottom.

You need a birdhouse that you can open and access the interior. This is because wrens are not good at housekeeping, and you will need to help them keep the nest clean.

Remove tracked-in dirt, fallen feathers, or any other foreign material from the nest to make it more pleasant for more birds. Make sure you wear gloves while cleaning and wash your hands afterward to keep yourself safe.

Wrens will eat spiders and insects they find in your garden, but this is not enough to make them stay. You can provide an additional source of food to entice them to stay in your yard.

You can fill a feeder with crushed or whole peanuts and place it close to the birdhouse. Peanut butter pudding would be best for summer. Smear the pudding on a pine cone and hang it on a low tree.

You can make the pudding by combining one part peanut butter with five parts cornmeal. You can also install suet feeders around the yard in the bird’s range of sight to attract more wrens.

Suet is best used in winter to provide the birds with the additional energy and fat they need to survive the cold. On sunny days, the fat will go rancid quickly, and the birds won’t eat it.

The feeders should be at least 5 feet above ground to keep the birds safe from dogs. Wrens are shy, so they will be more attracted to places with many shrubs and trees for them to hide in. 

Flowers will attract insects for the birds to eat. Wrens appreciate a reliable water supply for baths and drinks. You can add a pond, water fountain or use an inverted garbage can lid, but the best choice is a birdbath.

Interesting Details And Facts About Wrens

There are ten species of wren in the United States, so there is a lot of information concerning them that you need to have.

The most common types of wens are the house wrens. You can see them in almost all parts and seasons around the US. There are a lot of astonishing details that you might not be aware of, and here are some of them;

  • European wrens are fiercely territorial during the breeding season, and they are polygamous. One male can create up to 12 nests, and the females in their territories will choose among the nests and line the interior with moss and leaves.
  • Wrens lay up to nine eggs, and only females incubate them; the males, however, play a role in feeding and protecting the young after hatching.
  • During winter, wrens have been known to share birdhouses, with some having over 60 birds roosting simultaneously.
  • An adult wren weighs about the same as a coin, but they have a very loud song. Per unit weight, wrens can sing at ten times the power of a cockerel.
  • There are fossils of wren from the last ice age dating about 120000 years old. However, they were first recorded during Anglo-Saxon times.
  • Most species nest about six weeks after going back to their breeding grounds from October to December. This is the rainy season, and there is plenty of food available.
  • Their migration behavior differs depending on the location. European Wrens like those in Britain don’t migrate, but they migrate in other parts of Europe and America. They can fly for more than 1500 miles going as far as Scandinavia and Spain.
  • House wren chicks are blind, naked, and helpless when they hatch, so both parents pitch in to care for them. However, the birds are ready to leave the nest in about 15 days, and they can live for up to 9 years in the wild.
  • Wrens are creative when it comes to nesting. They can nest in abandoned nests, woodpecker holes, cavities, tin cans, flower pots, or birdhouses.
  • There are over 35 subspecies of Wrens, and they are spread worldwide. They have minor differences in overall coloration, size, and the extent of growing feathers.
  • Wrens are threatened by predators such as hawks and owls that hunt them. Snakes, rats, squirrels, cats, and raccoons eat their chicks and young.
  • House wrens are fiercely territorial and malicious during the breeding seasons. Pairs have been known to damage the eggs in any nearby nests by piercing the eggshells. They also add sticks in other nests to destroy them and chase the birds away.
  • Young males nest close to older males during the first breeding season to learn some tips on successful breeding. In consecutive seasons, they will nest as far away from each other as possible.

Conclusion

The diet varies among the species, but wrens are generally omnivorous or insectivorous. Most species feed primarily on insects, spiders, berries, ants, and seeds, while others eat green plant matter and peanuts.

You cannot keep wrens as pets. The birds are delicate, and they can die in captivity. They need to fly free with their flocks or mates without being caged. If you are interested in spending time around them, you can draw them to your backyard.

Place food, water, and birdhouses in your backyard to make it more welcoming for wrens. Ensure you protect the birds from predators by providing cover for them and keeping cats and dogs out of your yard.

Wrens are an interesting species that are spread all over the US. Their behavior changes drastically between seasons, and they are interesting to be around.