Time to start planning your bird house build! A Wren bird house is the perfect starting point for beginner woodworkers. We’ve compiled 10 awesome, free DIY plans so you can easily build an inviting home for your feathered guests.
You may not know this, but the Wren is one of the most common birds in North America, Europe and Asia. There are more than 10 species of Wren in the US alone, including: House, Carolina, Winter, Sedge, Marsh, Beewick, Rock, Cactus or Canyon Wren. Every wren will need a home, so pick a plan and before you know it wrens will be flocking to your property!
No matter where you live, there’s likely a wren population nearby because the little birds are so common. This means the probability of your DIY birdhouse being inhabited is pretty high. In a few short months, there will be thousands of wrens looking for homes. The easiest species to attract to birdhouses are House Wrens and Carolina Wrens, so pick a plan and welcome these adorable creatures to the neighborhood!
10 Coolest DIY Wren Bird House Plans
Check out these FREE DIY Birdhouse Plans Built for $3. Many of them are suitable for a wren.
1. One-Board Plan
The first birdhouse plan is from CoopFeathers.
This traditional shaped wren birdhouse plan is great for those DIY’ers who are just getting into woodwork. Birds don’t need elaborate designs so this simple pine birdhouse will be a comfortable choice for your neighborhood wrens.
2. Plastic Fence Post Plan
This clever idea from familyhandyman.com is a unique way to make wren birdhouse placement a breeze. Since many wrens prefer their home to be hanging from a small tree, this style of birdhouse is perfect. Easy to make and hang, your feathered friends will love this durable creation.
3. Diamond Shaped Birdhouse Plan
Wrens will love this quaint, diamond-shaped birdhouse. The simple plan is easy to follow, requires few tools and features pictures and measurements. You can choose a wood that already matches your decor for even more design coherence, the wrens will appreciate your style! Build it.
4. Wren Bird House with Side Door
This free wren birdhouse plan by EmpressOfDirt is another project that only requires one piece of wood! The right nesting box will encourage your wren to raise their young on your property and this design will keep predators out, but welcome wrens to stay a while.
5. Two Hanging Bird House Plans
Now, here are two birdhouse plans suitable for any backyard! Scroll down to find The Wren Nest Box, a classic design that features two options for entry. The unusual slotted entrance makes it easier for wrens to carry nesting items like long twigs inside.
The Wren Cube Hanging Nest Box (on the right) features a built-in ventilation gap which means your wren will be comfortable and safe.
Build them at TheBirdersReport.
6. Wren Nest Box Plan
You’ll want to use a soft wood when building this nesting box. The design from 70birds.com extends on the top and bottom for mounting holes so you can mount it to a tree. It also features a hinged roof for easy cleaning once it has been vacated in the fall.
7. License Plate Wren House Plan
In case you were wondering, here’s how to build a wren birdhouse using licence plates as the roof! These funky birdhouses double as decorative pieces to your backyard. Not only did feltmagnet.com include amazing photography to accompany their tutorial, there is even an option to build a two in one birdhouse. It doesn’t get better than that!
8. Metal Coffee Can As a Wren House
This innovative idea comes to life by reinforcing the plastic lid of an everyday coffee can. Add a few holes for ventilation and a layer of duck paint and you’ve got yourself the perfect home for a wren! Comes to you free from Iowa State University.
9. Wren Birdhouse From a Soda Can
Who would have thought your next birdhouse could be waiting for you in the recycling bin? Disguise a cleaned soda can with adhesive spray, moss and a few other simple steps and watch your can transform into an inviting home! Build it with Instructables.
10. Spacious Wooden Birdhouse Plan
These tall birdhouses are like spacious mansions to a tiny wren. Easily hung or mounted, the free wren birdhouse plan from freewoodpuzzles.com is an easy to follow guide to creating a simple, but impactful piece for your backyard.
With this plan, the authors decided to place an opening unusually close to the bottom … but hey, you’ll never know unless you try.
Wrens sing a beautiful song and House wrens don’t mind living next to people, so don’t miss the opportunity to have a cute, spunky friend in the backyard.
Watch this Carolina Wren sing and go into his bird house. Ahh, what a beautiful song! Just another reason to attract this tiny bird to your garden or yard.
Before building and placing your wren house, let’s learn a few things to make it right.
Wren Birdhouse Hole Size
From what we’ve gathered on the internet, it is recommended that wren’s birdhouse opening should be no larger than 1″ in diameter for House Wrens and no larger than 1-1/8″ for Carolina Wrens.
While just big enough for a tiny wren, such small hole with prevent sparrows and other birds from getting in.
How to Build a Wren Birdhouse
A wren will build a nest in any type of cavity, not only in a wooden box. So you should consider all kinds of structures – as we’ve provided free plans for below. But if you’re to build a wooden bird house then these are the recommended dimensions for a wood box:
Base: 4″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″
Hole diameter: 1″, centered 6″ above the bottom
Placement: 5–10′ high on a post or hanging from a tree branch
Source: The National Wildlife Federation
Base: 7″ x 7″
Hole diameter: 1-1/8″
Note: wrens don’t need a perch! They just want to hit that opening, look in and go in.
Don’t forget to drill a few small holes on the bottom to serve as drains.
What we suggest you do to maximize your chances to attract a wren is to build two or three different type houses and see which one will be chosen.
Wren Birdhouse Placement
Attracting wrens isn’t difficult to do, but it does require some forethought and strategy. You want to place your birdhouse in a place that is safe and appealing to wrens. Carolina Wrens tend to prefer homes that are well hidden among trees, whereas House Wrens will enjoy a birdhouse hanging from a small tree or a post in the middle of your backyard, or along the border of an open yard. Most wrens don’t mind a bit of human activity so you can also mount a birdhouse to the side of your home, just avoid high traffic areas.
Source: The National Wildlife Federation
To attract wrens, place your birdhouse on a forest edge, in an open woodland or near a swampy area. An abundance of shrubbery and trees will make it easy for wrens to find insects to eat. Since wrens are very territorial, it’s best not to place your birdhouses near each other. A 100 feet apart will do.
Wrens will always prefer housing that is mounted or hung 5-10 feet above around. If you opt to mount your birdhouse, using a metal pole instead of a wooden one will provide more safety from predators. Alternatively, a baffle can be placed at the bottom of a wood post to prevent animals from climbing and attacking your wrens. For those who live in areas with snakes, it is advisable to wrap your post in deer or bird netting, baffles and metal poles won’t stop a hungry snake.
Source: University of Vermont
Get your bird houses up in the early spring, by March is ideal.
Carolina Wren Bird House Specifics
Similar to House Wrens, the Carolina Wren is fairly accustomed to human presence and will often live nearby human activity. In fact, they are known for making nests in many man made objects including birdhouses, buckets and even shoes. To lure a Carolina Wren into your birdhouse instead of an unwanted bird, have your birdhouse mounted by Mid-March before breeding season begins.
Carolina Wrens don’t mind a swaying house, so you can mount or hang the box from a tree, but face it away from prevailing winds as they are sensitive to the cold. Avoid putting the birdhouse near areas where heavy pesticides are used and opt for forest, clear cuts and trees with thick underbrush so they can easily find food. If you have a large enough yard, it may be a good idea to place more than one house so the birds can choose which location is most suitable, just place them at least 100 feet apart from each other as wrens are known to be extremely territorial.
What To Do When the Box Becomes Occupied
You really don’t have to do much once your birdhouse becomes occupied, provided you have made enough holes for ventilation and drainage beforehand. Wrens will arrive in early spring, the male will establish a nest by collecting sticks. Typically, the male wrens will determine more than one site for nesting and the female will choose her favorite and add soft materials like feathers to make it comfortable for laying eggs.
Most wrens lay 5-6 eggs at a time and incubate between 12- 15 days. It takes around 16 or 17 days for the young birds to fledge and leave the nest. Once the young have left the next you can clean the box as wrens won’t raise a second brood in the same nest.
Wrens are great to have around the garden because they poke around under leaves and debris to catch insects. Wrens are cavity nesters so they will make homes in more than just boxes, they can be found in buckets, cans and just about any enclosure that will keep them cool throughout the breeding season. The average lifespan of a wren is between 5 and 10 years.
These energetic birds are nimble, they fly fast and close to the ground. They’re known for being vocal birds who sing their complex songs, solo and in pairs. Wrens are also extremely territorial, it is best to keep boxes several hundred yards apart to avoid conflict with other birds.
Source: Iowa State University of Science and Technology
How to Discourage Sparrows from Taking Wren’s House
What should you do if sparrows are scaring away your wrens? These are the ideas we’ve gathered on the web.
There are many ways to handle unwanted sparrows taking over your wren’s home, starting with the entry hole. Wren birdhouse hole size should be no greater than an inch in diameter (or an inch and an eighth tops for the Carolina wren) anything bigger than that will practically invite sparrows to move in and take over.
It is best to visit a bird supply store and purchase the metal pieces that reduce the size of the hole if yours is too big. Some sparrows will peck at an opening to enlarge the hole and squeeze in, so the metal parts work better than simply adding more wood.
Also, avoid perches. A perch can seem like a cute addition to a wren birdhouse opening, but most wrens won’t even use it. In fact, a perch can be dangerous for your wrens. Perches make entry easier for predators and sparrows so they should be avoided to keep your wren safe and comfortable.
Lastly, since sparrows prefer higher roosts, it might be a good idea to lower your boxes to no more than 3-6 feet above ground.
You can tell if a sparrow has invaded your wren’s home by opening up your birdhouse and inspecting the nest. Wrens build traditional cup-shaped nests made mostly of twigs, whereas sparrows will weave feathers, long grass, string, etc. into a big ball and then make a tunnel in it, usually taking up the entire box.
If a sparrow takes over your wren’s house, simply remove the nest, throw it away and try the steps above to discourage it from returning.