Give To Wrens


p. 393: '. . .it was realized that whole populations of certain species could be induced to use nestboxes if enough were provided, and could thus be studied in many aspects of their population structure. Pioneer studies were those of S.P. Baldwin and W.W. Bowen on the House Wren Troglodytes aedon in the USA, begun in 1915, and of K. Wolda and his associates on the Great Tit Parus major in Holland, begun in 1920.'
---Campbell, B., and E. Lack (eds.). 1985. A Dictionary of Birds. T & A D Poyser Ltd, Calton, England.

'The widespread use of artificial nestboxes has led to significant advances in our knowledge of the ecology, behaviour and physiology of cavity nesting birds. . . .' 'However, when comparing results across study sites the use of nestboxes may also introduce a potentially significant confound variable in the form of differences in nestbox design amongst studies. . . .' 'We. . .list the the types of descriptive data that should be included in the methods sections of relevant manuscripts and justify this by discussing how variation in nestbox characteristics can affect or confound conclusions from nestbox studies.'
---Lambrechts et al. 2010. The design of artificial nestboxes for the study of secondary hole-nesting birds: a review of methodological inconsistencies and potential biases. Acta Ornithologica 45: 1-26.

On the Mackinaw and East Bay study areas, boxes are mounted on 5-foot (1.5 meters) sections of 3/4-inch electrical-line conduit. Nestboxes are arranged 30 m apart on north-south oriented lines that are 60 m apart (5.4 boxes/ha). Click here for study-area details.


In 2014 and 2015 we conducted experiments with enlarged entrances to investigate the effects of increased perceived predation risk. See

Dorset et al. 2017. Evolutionary Biology 44: in press.

Will et al. 2017. Journal of Zoology 301: in press.

The predator guard is a 19-inch (48.3 cm) aluminum pizza pan held up by a 1-inch EMT coupler. The cork blocks a second entrance hole opposite the entrance hole with its trapdoor. An iButton is temporarily mounted on the underside of this box to record shaded, ambient temperature.

Nestbox placement for the experimental manipulation of male attractiveness. Attractive males are given four nestboxes, the original central box and three boxes placed 10 m north, east, and west of the central box. All entrances face east. See
DeMory et al. 2010. Behavioral Ecology 21: 1156-1164.

Grana et al. 2012. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66: 1247-1258.


Setting up a Kodak Zx1 pocket video camera to record nestling provisioning by adults.
Photo by Rachel Hatch, 2012

Nestbox dimensions and an old house wren nest.

A sliding sheet-metal trapdoor is permanently mounted over the side-entrance hole.

The floodplain of the Mackinaw River sometimes lives up to its name.

Sometimes we leave inspirational messages for the house wrens.
Photo by E. Keith Bowers, 2010