Friday, 1 May 2015

Day 179 - Wonderful Whizzing Wrens

Hey everyone, its Day 179 today and I hope you've managed to see some of the Tour de Yorkshire on the TV as it shows off some of the wonderful countryside near where I live. I really love Whitby in particular and must do another post about a ramble there though I have done a few posts on the rock pools there.

Today I'm covering a lovely little bird that I see quite a lot but has been really difficult to get photos of as they don't sit still! Well not long enough for me - except once at Washington Wetlands Centre! Happily I got a couple of shots which was enough for me to be able to do a post. Today I'm talking about the Wren!

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Well as you know by now I like to go out and see what I can find and then find out lots about it. So what did I find out in my research? Well, this!:

  • It's not quite our smallest bird here in the UK but nearly. It is just a bit heavier and a little less slim than the tiny Goldcrest.  
  • They are pretty small though being just 10cm in length with a 15cm wingspan and weighing just 10g!
  • Again Goldcrests beat this for being totally amazing but I still don't know how you get a bird from an egg that weighs just 1.3g! 
  • Being quite small they don't have a very long typical lifespan which is on average 2 years. The oldest recorded Wren though was 6 years, 8 months and 13 days old.
  • They are found across all of the UK including some of the islands like Orkney and Shetland, but not the Isle of Man (according to the RSPB map).
  • Wrens feed on insects and spiders and hunt for them mainly on the ground in their preferred habitat of woodland, reedbeds and undergrowth.
Looking for a meal
  • It has a Green Status having around 8.6 million breeding territories in the UK. Mild winters have helped its numbers.
  • There is quite a lot of folklore about Wrens. They were considered sacred by the Druids.
  • There is a story about them being King of the birds having flown higher than other birds by riding on an eagles back. 
  • Their feathers were thought to protect you from drowning so were popular with sailors.
  • Their eggs were supposed to be protected from lightening. If you stole their eggs your house would be struck by lightening and your hand would whither.
  • One sad thing that used to happen to Wrens was that they were hunted and killed. The main day for this was Boxing Day also known as St Stephens day (26th December) where they caught them and paraded the streets where they received money for it or in some cases boys would just kill them with stones. This is connected to St Stephen who was supposed to have given away by a wrens song when running away and was stoned.
  • Another familiar feature of the Wren is its loud song. I don't know why the song should be so loud for it's size but birds have a different organ to us for making their song. We have a larynx and birds have a syrinx which is far more efficient at using exhaled air to make sound.
So a tiny brown familiar bird has a very big place in our history and folklore. If you want to know more about them try these links:

Folklore - 


1 comment:

  1. Lovely post Zach! Wrens are just so adorable! - Tasha