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MEET THE MODEL – WENDY THE WREN

Say hello to Wendy the Wren , Troglodytes troglodytes

The wren is a small brown bird, almost rounded, with a fine bill, quite long legs and toes, very short round wings and a short, narrow tail which is often cocked up vertically. Wrens can be found across the whole of the UK in a wide range of habitats – woodland, farmland, heathland, moorland and islands. Most are found in deciduous woodland but they are a regular visitor to most gardens. The Eurasian wren, a member of one of 19 genera covering 45 species that embrace much of the globe. Wrens are found across every landmass and on virtually every island. Even the Falklands have their own version, Cobb’s wren. Most British Wrens are sedentary though some move up to 250 km (150 miles) into more sheltered habitats, such as reed beds, for the winter.

The wren delivers a powerful song, which becomes an angry chatter when an intruder, human or otherwise, passes through their territory. The female becomes particularly vocal if her newly fledged brood in her nest. The loud song from such a small throat is possible because birds have an organ called a syrinx with a resonating chamber and membranes that utilise virtually all the air in the lungs and can produce two notes at the same time.

The male is territorial, defends his patch against other males, builds several alternative unlined nests and whistles up a female. The birds store very little body fat and lose heat easily. During a severe winter, anything from a quarter to three-quarters of the population risk death. The birds including the male will huddle together in large groups of up to fifty in number.

The Wren is the most common breading bird in the U.K. Wrens will use open-fronted and tit nest boxes, both for nesting and winter roosting .The male bird constructs several globe-shaped nests in holes in walls, banks, trees, or old nests from leaves, grass and moss. When the female has chosen a nest, she lines it with feathers. The male bird may mate with several females – all of which can go on to successfully have young. Incubation is by the female only of the 5-6 eggs, with two broods per season normal. The smooth, glossy eggs are white with reddish spots, and about 16 mm by 13 mm. Incubation is by the female only. The young are fed by both parents.

Insects, insect larvae and spiders make up the Wren’s diet, with a limited amount of small seeds also eaten. With winter food scarce, wrens may forage under the snow for their natural diet of insects and spiders, their small size allowing them into areas that other birds can’t penetrate, an ability that applies throughout the year as they can reach cavities denied to larger beaks.

The UK population trend for the Wren, especially in England, has been one of moderate increase. Overall though, the population is seen as stable – with the exception of the huge population crashes occur during harsh winters. When this happens though, the species is usually able to quickly bounce back due to its prolific breeding habits . Classified as Green in the UK under birds of conservation concern , as with most wildlife in the UK the Wren is protected under the wildlife and countryside act , 1981.

Measurements:

Length 10cm

Wingspan 14-16cm

Weight 7-14g

Population 8 million birds

Life expectancy 2 years

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All images © Wild by Photographic Solutions 2018

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