Jenny Wren – a behavioural puzzle

Our garden provides a great habitat for our resident wren population. Colloquially known as the Jenny Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes (the first latin bird name I learned and is one of very few I do know!), they are a welcome companion in the garden. As their latin name suggests they feed close to, under or on the ground on spiders and insects. Males build several nests to attract a female but after this frenetic activity don’t participate in the incubation of the 5-6 eggs and feeding the young. Two broods in a season are not uncommon.

So what I wonder is the behaviour we have recently observed in our garden and continued tonight for a couple of hours at least? Taking up prominent positions on shrubs and fence posts a wren called with strident incessancy, caught in the brightness of the late afternoon sun. At one time 3 birds were close together on a fence.


Two possibilities spring to my mind, but I would welcome other suggestions

  • Territorial – after the young have fledged there will be a larger local population, so the birds are re-establishing their territory and moving the youngsters on to pastures new.
  • Breeding display – It would seem too late in the season, but is the calling bird a male, calling to attract females to his newly prepared nest sites?

Wren
Troglodytes troglodytes
Widespread in Europe and Asia from Arctic Circle to Sicily. Only species of Wren in the UK and second smallest British bird. Known as the Winter Wren in North America

One Comment

  1. From separate correspondence, the consensus is territorial behaviour

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