Hanging and Cleaning the Wren House

Now that you’ve selected the perfect wren house, you want to ensure these lovely little songbirds build their nests inside. Hanging your bird house at the right time and location will help to give you the best chance to attract nesting birds.

When to Hang a Wren House

daffodils blooming

The wren mating season begins in early spring.

In the United States, wrens go south in the winter and return each year shortly before mating season begins. Bird houses should be hung well in advance of the mating season in early Spring.

The males will begin scouting locations at this time and you don’t want to disturb their prime nesting areas or they may choose a less “active” area to build their nests. In fact the male wrens will arrive in advance to search out the perfect location before the females even head north.

Wren House Placement

Selecting the correct location for your birdhouse is one of the most important factors that will determine whether or not the wrens will choose your house for their new nest. Wrens seek out the protection and shade of trees and bushes where they can find insects to eat and building materials for their nests.

wren house hanging in tree with baby wren looking out

This is a great location for a wren house – as you can see the dappled light on the roof and plenty of tree branches nearby so the wrens feel secure.

Follow these guidelines when choosing the perfect placement for their home.

  1. Choose a location that receives partial shade near the border of the yard or in a large tree. Filtered sunlight that provides a combination of both sun and shade is ideal.
  2. Wrens prefer a secluded area with plenty of cover. This may be nestled in the branches of a tree or a location that includes nearby bushes to offer protection from the elements or predators.
  3. Install your wren house anywhere from 3 to 10 feet off the ground. 5 feet is an ideal height for nesting birds. Higher or lower placements can also work well as long as good cover is available.
  4. Houses should be hung with the attached chain so they swing gently in the breeze.
  5. Face the house away from prevailing winds in the area and avoid areas that receive too much direct wind.
  6. Don’t place bird houses in areas that are frequented by pets, especially barking dogs or prowling cats.
  7. When hanging several houses, space them 20 to 50 feet apart to avoid competition from rival males.
garden canopy - man-made structures

Houses can be hung on man-made structures as long as plenty of cover is available.

If no nearby trees are available, you can mount the house on a post or other man-made structure with a hook. But try to place the hook in a somewhat secluded area, so the wrens will feel safe enough to build their nests.

The secret to finding the right backyard location is mostly about food, shelter and safety. So keep that in mind as you look around your backyard for that perfect spot. For more information about the house wren, it’s history and and nesting habits, check out the Bird Guide by Cornell University.

Maintaining Your Wren House

Once of the best things about purchasing a wren house made from recycled materials is they require very little maintenance. Our houses will maintain their beauty and structure for years to come without the need for water-proofing or staining. There are also no wood materials which can be prone to fading, rotting or attracting insects and spiders.

However, you will want to inspect and clean the house at least once a year. The best time for cleaning a bird house is in the autumn months after the babies have left the nest and you are sure not to disturb any nearby birds. Wrens may have 1-2 broods per year, so keep this in mind before taking down the house..

Cleaning the House

For your protection, wear gloves & a face mask when cleaning the bird house.

    1. Remove the house from the tree to a convenient location.
    2. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the base of the house.

wren bird house with bottom removed for cleaning

    1. Discard any nesting materials, loose feathers or debris.
    2. Use a hose to rinse the house and clean out any remaining materials with a towel. A stiff brush can be used to loosen any hardened material.
    3. Wash with soapy water and rinse well.
    4. Leave the bottom unattached and allow it to air dry.

If you find the right location to hang your bird house and take the basic steps to clean it out on a yearly basis, you should be rewarded with a houseful of wrens season after season.