Wednesday, July 17, 2013

House Wren

House Wren - Troglodytes aedon 

The species name reflects the similarity of the call of the House Wren to a nightingale. In Greek mythology, Zeus transformed Aedon, the Queen of Thebes, into a nightingale.
Wrens are primarily insectivores and this series of photos confirms that the House Wren does choose this bird "food group." The wrens often feed in the bushes beside my chair while I read in the garden. The enter into the thick of the bush, and in less than a minute the emerge with an insect in the bill. They often enter crevices, where they know that insects like to hang out. 
A House Wren has nested in one of the boxes on the back fence every year for the last five years. There are usually two broods a year with 6 to 8 eggs. There are more wrens around this year than I have ever noticed, which might imply that many of the fledged wrens have returned to nest in the area.
House Wrens sometimes go into other nests (same or different species) in the immediate neighbourhood and puncture the eggs. Presumably this somehow increases survival chances, perhaps my minimizing competition for food for the young wrens.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

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