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posted: 3/6/2014 11:47 AM

Build a wren house at Stillman Nature Center

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  • Stop by Stillman Nature Center from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, and build a nest box for house wrens.

      Stop by Stillman Nature Center from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, and build a nest box for house wrens.
    Courtesy of Karen Lund

Submitted by Mark Spreyer

The Stillman Nature Center invites you to build a nest box for house wrens Sunday, March 30.

If you are unfamiliar with house wrens, here are a few fun facts. This diminutive bird is only 4.75 inches from stem to stern with a 6-inch wingspan. For many folks, the excited wren's call means spring is in full swing.

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The wren's loud and complicated call defies phonetic description. The songs usually last from 1.5 to 2.5 seconds but that's just the beginning. In the spring, from the time the male migrates back to the nesting territory until the eggs hatch, the wren repeats his song 100 to 600 times per hour every morning. It is surprising that they are able to sing at all while they are busy building nests. Besides using nest boxes, they'll make nests in mailboxes, flowerpots, drainpipes, hats, cans, teapots, folded awnings, old boots, fish creels, parked cars, and in the pockets of pants hung out to dry! Given that house wrens thrive in the suburbs, the odds are pretty good that one will use a nest box hanging in your yard.

Stop in at the Stillman Nature Center between 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, March 30, and join Jim Kaltsas and Peter Schwarz as they help you assemble your own wren nest box. Dress to be outside and please bring your own hammer.

There is a limit of one wren house per family. Stillman members will pay $5 per house kit; nonmembers $10.

You can find Stillman Nature Center at 33 W. Penny Road, in South Barrington, between Bartlett and Algonquin roads. For information, visit

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