How to make a House Wren*

Start with eggs:

Numbering the eggs is optional

Keep the eggs warm until they hatch. When they do hatch, you should get something like this:

Less than 5 minutes old: head fluff still wet

That doesn’t look like a bird at all! You did it wrong!

Just kidding. You’re fine. Now, feed the chicks:

One day old: still transparent, but not quite so pink

Eight days old: breaking pins**

That looks like a bird! Well done! Now keep feeding it. At 16-20 days old, it should leave the nest (fledge):


You’re done! Haha no. Now you just have to keep feeding it, and also warning it about predators! Being a parent bird involves a lot of feeding. But after a week or so, you can stop feeding it, and it will survive on its own.


*This is a joke; you cannot make House Wrens, you are not a House Wren. (If you are a House Wren, email me ASAP so I can start work on my ground-breaking paper, “Internet access and English language comprehension by a passerine bird.”) These photos are from my nest monitoring, and I always put the eggs/chicks right back in the nest afterwards.

**”Breaking pins” is a term for when the chick’s pinfeathers break through their protective sheaths. You can see the fluff beginning to poke out of the plastic-looking sheaths on the wing feathers in this picture.

4 thoughts on “How to make a House Wren*

  1. But I thought if you touched baby birds the mother bird would smell “human” on them and abandon them. Just a myth? Or does it depend on the species?

  2. Myth! Birds can smell, but none that I know of will abandon chicks based on smell. Possibly this is because birds don’t tell which chick is theirs based on smell; instead, they tell by the chick’s calls and/or its presence in their nest. Rats, on the other hand, do identify their babies by smell and probably would reject a baby that smelled “wrong.”
    Handling chicks should still be avoided unless you have a reason, though: it may stress the chicks out, and it can alert predators to the location of the nest.

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