House Wren - Troglodytes aedon
The House Wren is one of the best known song birds in North America. It is moderately small: 11 to 13 cm long, 10 to 12 g. From a distance appears fairly uniform brownish gray, without obvious field marks. The northern House Wren: head, nape and back are near uniform shade of brown-darker and more rufescent in eastern populations, paler and grayer in western populations. Has only a pale, often indistinct superciliary line and no striping on crown. Throat and chest uniformly light gray, sometimes with buffy or brownish tings. Some black, dark brown and buffy barring on flanks (usually becoming indistinct forward of legs), tail, and wings and, in western individuals, on scapulars and back. Sexes identical in plumage. No seasonal changes in plumage (Johnson 1998).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(direct evidence "B")
(indirect evidence "b")
No evidence of Breeding
(regular observations "W")
(at least one obs. "w")
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
In the Bozeman area, normal migration periods are May 17 to 25 and August 20 to September 5.
Has an affinity for open, shrubby woodlands, mimicked so well by small town and suburban backyards and city parks; has a preference for human-made "bird houses". Nests readily in small woodlots and at forest edges. In the East, known to occur primarily at or near edges of deciduous forests and in open woodlands. In western plains, found exclusively in wooded areas around water, or farmyards or residential areas with trees and shrubs. In western foothills and mountains, found in deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous woodlands in canyons or riparian areas, and at edges or in clear-cut or thinned areas of denser montane coniferous forests (Johnson 1998).
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
How Associations Were Made
We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for
vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
- Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
- Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.
In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.
However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if
point observations were associated with that system.
Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.
The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.
Suggested Uses and Limitations
Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.
These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: mtnhp.org/requests
) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.
Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.
Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.
Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).
Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.
- Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 289 p.
- Dobkin, D. S. 1992. Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34. Missoula, MT.
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
- Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998. Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates. Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 1302 p.
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- Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
- Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems
Forest and Woodland Systems
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Feeds primarily on small, terrestrial invertebrates (Johnson 1998).
Nests naturally in preformed tree cavities, especially old woodpecker holes, but readily uses nest boxes. Eggs are short, rounded ovate to oval in shape. Smooth and glossy; their ground color white to pinkish white to slightly grayish, marked lightly to quite extensively. Clutch size at most locations usually ranges from low of 4 to high of 7 or 8 (Johnson 1998). Near Fortine, egg dates are from May and June. Young in the nest were seen June 7 to 30, with young in second nests as late as August 20. Statewide, nests are from mid-May through July.
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Johnson, L. S. 1998. House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). In The birds of North America, No. 380 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and American Ornithologists’ Union. [Revised online 8 December 2014]
- Marks, J.S., P. Hendricks, and D. Casey. 2016. Birds of Montana. Arrington, VA. Buteo Books. 659 pages.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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