Birdhouses 101 - House Wren feeding preference

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House Wren Feeding Preferences

The House Wrens feeding habits is one that benefits mankind since they only eat animals, mainly insects and some other invertebrates, that humans consider to be pesky though only a few are really destructive insects. Small amount of plants are sometimes eaten by house wrens but these plants are usually ingested accidentally while eating the insects. In fact 98% of a house wrens diet consists of insects while a mere 2% is from vegetable matter. House Wrens accidentally eat vegetable matter since they forage actively for insects in vegetation. They like to forage in riparian thickets and tree foliage where there are plenty of insects to be found.

The most common insects eaten by House Wrens are different kinds of bugs (stinkbugs, negro bugs and leafhoppers), grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, moths and caterpillars. Ants are also art of the House Wrens diet year round though they are eaten only in abundance during March. Other insects ingested in small amounts are bees, wasps, and flies. Aside from insects very small amounts of the following animals are also eaten by House Wrens: spiders, millipedes, ticks, lice, aphids, snails, and small crustaceans.

House Wrens are known for feeding their nestlings a huge amount of food and for feeding them very frequently. Although adult wrens are known for feeding their young frequently they are also known for periods of attentiveness and inattentiveness wherein they would feed the young wrens several times in succession then go off alone to rest and feed themselves. The successive feedings can be anywhere from three to ten times, even more, before each break. What is obvious though is that the successive feedings is usually done more often during the day than at night. The (observed) record number of feedings belongs to a male bird observed by Clara K. Bayliss (1917) at Macomb, Illinois. The male bird visited the nest 111 times in an hour carrying food during each visit for the young birds.

An interesting fact about the House Wrens feeding habits is that adults who were not able to raise their own brood (for whatever reasons) have been known to care for birds of other species. They usually care for young birds but are also known to feed adult birds of other species as well. It is hypothesized that they do this to satisfy their urge to care for offspring. Some known species of birds that House Wrens have fed are grosbeaks and sparrows.

Related House- Wren Articles

Click to learn more About The House Wren
Click to learn more About The House Wren Nesting Preferences
Click to learn more About Building a Birdhouse For The House Wren
Click to learn more About The House Wren Mating Habits
Click to learn more About Interesting House Wren Facts

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Ann Jacobson  5/25/2016)
I am in PA now and we have wrens here in spite of the bad weather,winter and snow ! How do they find enough to eat ?

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