The Northern House Wren

May 2010

Deer Tick on Bill's HybridFor the last few years I have had a breeding pair of Northern House Wrens nesting in a bird house in my back yard and I just love these little guys. When it comes to exuberant singing, these little fellows are champs. I can sit out on my deck and from only a few meters away watch them flit in and out and around their nest box and listen to their song. These energetic little birds are truly something that I look forward to every spring and summer. And like so many other very small birds, it never ceases to amaze me how this species survives its flight during migration to and from southern tropical climates.

The Northern House Wren, (Troglodytes aedon), is a very small songbird about 11-13 cm long and weighs about 12g, belonging to the Wren family. This Wrens range, in its broadest sense, extends from Canada to South America. The Northern House Wren migrates to the southern United States and Mexico in winter, flying south in September and October and returning north in late April and May. The male may mate with as many as three females and build several nests.

It is a bold and feisty bird and extremely vocal. This Wren is popular with birders and quite commonly nests in small bird houses which have a small entrance hole preventing larger birds or predators to enter. While heard regularly throughout the nesting season, the Northern House Wren becomes very quiet after this period.

The female lays between two and eight very small (1.4 grams each in weight and measuring 13.4 mm at the widest point) red-blotched creamy brown and white eggs. Incubation lasts 12 – 19 days with another 15 – 19 days until fledging occurs.
The House Wren is divided into three distinct subspecies groups and one or several distinct island-endemic subspecies. Some or all of these are often considered distinct species.


  • Northern House Wren, - Canada to southern U.S.A.


  • Brown-throated Wren, - troglodytes (aedon) aedon group, southern U.S.A. and central ranges of Mexico.


  • Cozumel Wren, troglodytes (aedon) beani – Cozumel Island off the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
    Southern House Wren, troglodytes (aedon) musculus group – southern Mexico, central and South America.

Keep your eyes open for this tiny bird. However chances are you’ll hear it before you see it.


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