House Wren Excavates A Nest Cavity

by Larry Jordan on June 11, 2011

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) photos by Larry Jordan

I went out to Clear Creek the other day, searching for an Eastern Kingbird that had been seen by several birders and posted on the local list serve.  The Eastern Kingbird is a common species in its range but not in California.

Unfortunately, I dipped on the Kingbird, being a day late, but I did find a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) actually excavating a nest site in a hollow tree branch.  I apologize for the grainy photos but you can still click on them to see the full sized images.  He was singing away most of the time when he didn’t have debris in his beak.

I had to shoot these photos at an ISO setting of 3200 to get a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action.  The House Wren was in the shadows the entire time.

The best part of this brief encounter? I was able to get a video of this little guy excavating the cavity (I’m assuming it was the male House Wren doing the excavation because the male of this species usually begins the nest building by placing sticks in the bottom of the cavity as a platform for the female to complete once they pair up).

Here he is at the cavity opening as he pops in and out with debris in his beak.

You can hear the bird singing toward the end of this two minute video and another House Wren answering in the background.

I also found the stick foundation of a House Wren nest in one of my bluebird boxes a few days ago.  I hope to get some good photos of that pair if they decide to actually build a nest in that box.

For more, and I’m sure better, bird photos, check out this weeks Bird Photography Weekly and submit your own photos to share with the rest of us!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

TexWisGirl June 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

wow. what a painstaking process that must be – especially when he takes time to stop, look around, and sing at almost every excavation! 🙂


NatureFootstep June 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

this little wren had a good taste for chosing it´s nest. It is beautiful and sheltered from most bad weather conditions. 🙂 And I love that video. 🙂


Bob K June 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Another informative treatise on House Wrens! Great job, Larry!


MaineBirder June 13, 2011 at 6:00 am

Wow, ISO 3200! Never-the-less, great post, photos and video larry!


Phil June 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

I hope your Wren goes on to nest there Larry. Our troglodytes troglodytes can build several nests (cock nests) before the female chooses one that suits her best. Typical!


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