Living Bird Magazine
Pacific WrenTroglodytes pacificus
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Troglodytidae
Pacific Wrens are tiny brown wrens with a song much larger than themselves. One researcher deemed them a “pinnacle of song complexity.” This tinkling, bubbly songster is more often heard than seen within the dark understory of old-growth evergreen forests where they live. When Pacific Wrens sing they hold their tail upright and their entire body shakes with sound. They move like mice through the forest understory, hopping along logs and upturned roots.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Pacific Wrens are very vocal so listen for their rapid series of tumbling and trilling notes in old-growth forests in the West. When you hear their sweet song, patiently look in the understory for mouselike movements along decaying logs and in upturned roots. Early mornings during the breeding season are best times to find them perched in the open shaking as they sing.
- Saltapared Cholino del Oeste (Spanish)
- Troglodyte de Baird (French)
If you live within their breeding range, you may be able to attract one to your yard by installing a nest box. Be sure to have the nest box ready before the breeding season begins complete with a predator guard. Find plans to build your own nest box at NestWatch.
Landscaping with native plants can also attract Pacific Wrens. Maintaining areas with dense vegetation and brush piles can provide foraging and maybe even nesting opportunities. Learn more about landscaping with native plants at Habitat Network.
- Cool Facts
- Male Pacific Wrens build multiple nests within their territory. During courtship, males lead the female around to each nest and the female chooses which nest to use.
- Pacific Wrens may congregate near streams when salmon are migrating in the Pacific Northwest to cash in on the abundance of insects that are attracted to salmon carcasses.
- Some populations of Pacific Wrens move short distances after the breeding season and others stay in the same place year-round.
- Pacific Wrens sometimes pile into nest boxes to stay warm when the weather turns cold. Thirty-one individuals were found together in one nest box in western Washington.
- Pacific Wren were considered the same species as Winter Wren until 2010 when researchers found that wrens in the West differed from birds in the East and from birds in Europe. Winter Wren was then split into three different species; the Pacific Wren of the West, the Winter Wren of the East, and the Eurasian Wren in Europe—the only wren species that occurs outside the Americas.
- The oldest known Pacific Wren was a female and at least 6 years, 6 months old when she was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California in 2008. She had been banded in the same state in 2003.