House Wrens 75 Feet Away - Bad or OK?

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Don & Danielle
Posts: 111
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 6:55 pm
Location: Dardenne Prairie, MO (suburb of St. Louis)

We have a 24-gourd rack in the middle of our backyard, just about fully claimed by PM pairs. They've started to lay eggs, and all seems to be going well. :grin:

Tonight, I noticed a pair of house wrens showing interest in an unoccupied BB box that I have about 75 feet from my gourd rack. They've started building a nest, since there are quite a few twigs in the box. I have heard the male for a few days now, back near that box, so I guess he attracted a female.

I haven't seen the wrens on the gourd rack at all, but I know they can be "egg-pokers". I did a PM nest check a couple of days ago, and all the eggs were fine, and I have seen none on the ground under the rack.

Will the wrens leave the PMs alone if they are separated by 75 feet or so? Or should I discourage this wren nest? Part of me is reluctant to do this, since they may go to the gourd rack to look for a new home.

Thanks for any advice.
Linda Reynolds
Posts: 1308
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:33 pm
Location: Adamsville, TN

75' seems to be a good distance. However, please be aware, the male house wren arrives before the female and HE builds quite a few nests prior to her arrival. They are comprised of small twigs. When she arrives, SHE chooses the actual real estate.

Hopefully, he has not built any preliminary nests closer to your martin colony. House Wrens have been knows to peck martin eggs, but the more user-friendly Carolina Wren is no threat.

I hope you can enjoy both species in your yard..........they are both delightful.
Ever-Grateful,
Linda
Carlton
Posts: 1931
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Deluxe Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 8 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I care for a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also care for a Deluxe Gourd rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, care for a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

Don and Danielle,

I have the same possible problem. I am not sure my house wren nest is as far away from my martins as is your's though. I too am concerned. I am trying to put up extra little boxes that house wrens may like, over on the far side of the yard, to keep them busy filling up those boxes with sticks. SO FAR, so good. Have my fingers crossed.
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

I, too, am nervous about house wrens. I had a male show up about a month ago. I know he has a female companion now, but it doesn't seem that they've started a nest. I've seen her go in the wren house that he filled with sticks on several occasions, and he seems to spend more time on top of this house than anywhere else. However ... I still hear him singing all over the yard, and when he first arrived, he was actually perched on my PM house one afternoon. I haven't seen him there again, but it scares me to think he might decide to cause mischief. I also fear for my bluebirds. They're between nestings now, but I've seen him in the general vicinity of their box even though it's way out in the open--away from trees and brush--in a horse pasture.

Like Carlton, I put up a few extra "wren appropriate" houses this evening in the hopes that they will keep him busy.

I've heard that the male will no longer pierce eggs once his mate begins egg laying. Does anyone know if this is true?
Candace
Carlton
Posts: 1931
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Deluxe Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 8 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I care for a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also care for a Deluxe Gourd rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, care for a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

I would even keep removing his sticks in the house wren boxes to keep him really busy as he will continue to rebuild. Let him have a real nest in one of the boxes but keep emptying the others each day. Do not just lay the twigs on the ground. Make him look for new materials to take up time and energy.

Last year I actually had a house wren build IN one of my martin gourds on the rack but it was a late nest and the martin babies were already fairly well developed. The would go in the various gourds and look around and even carried twigs into some but he finally settled on one gourd and raised 4 young. I was hoping he did not return this year and SO FAR he has not gone into the martin rack area but has been content to build in the wren boxes over near the shrubbery.

I think that some of the house wrens are worse than others as far as bad habits go. I know they and the bluebirds are not a good match with the bb losing that competition. It is a shame as they are both such cute/beautiful and beneficial species.

Hopefully he will choose one box and nest away from the martin setup. I do not know the answer to your question about egg laying and egg piercing.
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

I've had wrens nest about 60' away a few times with no problems. The wren box is at woodland edge and they don't even approach the open martin area.

Good luck, Mary
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"
Dawn~KS
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

My first year when the house and gourds were vacant the wren decided to build nests and fill a couple compartments with sticks. I never let him nest there and he had other choices. Having extra, smaller gourds to hang is great as he gets so busy filling them he doesn't have time to go to the martin stuff!

Now that my housing and gourds are so active I have never seen the wren attempt to nest. Never even seen him near them and he is closer than 75 feet. I just hope he never decides to go *pokin'*! I think all the activity makes a difference.

Good luck!!
Dawn :wink:
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

My little guy may be one of the "bad ones"! :P The only house he fills with sticks is the approved wren house. And this is where he spends most of his time. However, I do see him landing on vacant bluebird boxes and going in to investigate. He never does carry in any sticks. I'll keep an eye out on all of my empty boxes and houses. If he begins carrying in sticks, I'll tear them out.

He was out on "his" house this morning sweet talking his little lady friend. Maybe she's finally ready to settle down!
Candace
Martin man RI
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:04 pm
Location: MA/RI area

House Wrens must go!
They are trouble and will remove martin eggs
I have lost almost 10 pair of bluebirds because of wrens
they will remove tiny chicks while the birds are away hunting
I would never tolerate wrens near my colony plus once you
start to fleg chicks they come back in droves. And will cause many
problems. Ray
cchild03
Posts: 412
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 12:03 pm
Location: Kansas/Leavenworth

Ray,

In my ideal world, I wouldn't have any HOWR on my property. I've never offered housing specifically for wrens. But this pair showed up anyway, and since I do offer bluebird boxes for bluebirds and chickadee houses for chickadees, in their little eyes, I'm offering wren homes as well. I also live on 15, mixed acres of open pastureland and woods. So I may be more at a disadvantage than others. I try to place my boxes as far out in the open as possible, but some wrens seem more adventurous than others and don't seem to mind the wide open spaces.

How do you discourage them from nesting on your property? I know you're allowed to tear out their dummy nests, but it's my understanding that once the female chooses a nest and begins egg laying, it's illegal to destroy the active nest. I'd love to hear any tips on how you've gotten them to "move on down the road." Since this pair is here now and committed, I just try to keep them distracted. Unfortunately, I don't think they have any plans to leave.
Candace
Martin man RI
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:04 pm
Location: MA/RI area

Hi Candace,
just limit number of box's so many for each species no extra box's
that will keep mr HOWR away. WE have public parks and people dont
manage them 12 box's one pair of Bluebird say six pair of swallows
many wrens and a few HOSP because i try to manage them. and if
people would learn to limit nest box's and not place 12 in a very small area
that would be much better and limit number of bad birds. People fledge many wrens in this other private site and all the over flow of wrens is moving closer to my bluebird and and has decimated the trail because people saturated area's with box's and the wrens attack. And there is nothing a person can do. because there protected. Ray
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