Nest Building 101

I received these instructions from a cavity nesting songbird, one that serenades me while I’m  working in the garden: the common House Wren.

Step 1.In the absence of a hollow tree, find a small box with a hole in it. Stuff the box with tiny twigs (about 600, give or take a hundred). Leave some room at the top for bedding and the kids. Oh, and in your spare time, stuff every other nest box in sight with twigs to discourage the competition.


Step 2. Scavenge some soft material for bedding (you don’t want the kids flying around with a stick up their butt). Fragments of insulation from a nearby dog kennel work well.


Step 3. Sing loud and often to let the world know what you’ve done. And that you own it.


My biological control strategy for insect pests!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

12 thoughts on “Nest Building 101

  1. Made me smile also. Nicely humorous description of the wren’s nesting habits. Last year I had wrens in the birdhouse hanging high on my front porch. This year I am quite surprised that I have bluebirds which now have nestlings. Go figure…. Just when I thought I should reduce the diameter of the door to discourage house sparrows. I think the bluebirds enlarged the door beyond what the sparrows did last year 🙂

    • Thanks Kathy. Having struggled for years to attract bluebirds, I’m always jealous when I hear the backyard/porch success stories! My brother has had a similar experience in North Carolina. Enjoy!

  2. Nice pictures to accompany a nice post. And so true. Wrens will fill every cavity with twigs. Years ago I had one put twigs into a pair of my 3 year olds pants that I had hanging on the line to dry. The pant legs were just small enough that the wren thought it might make a nice nesting place.

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