Jenny Wren, the Eurasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes.
The scientific binomial derives from the Greek word for a hole or cave, and might well be translated as the cave dweller of cave dwellers. At night, in winter, wrens roost in snug holes; in hard weather, they sometimes do so in large groups gathered together for warmth. They also build a round cave-like nest made of moss, feathers and spiders’ webs.
Nobody seems to know why a wren is called Jenny; we asked Google but they didn’t know either.
According to the RSPB, the wren is the most common of British breeding birds; it is estimated that there are eight and a half million wren territories in the UK. Researchers count territories rather than breeding pairs because wrens are polygamous; a male wren may mate with several females all of whom rear their young in his territory.
Wrens are tiny, the shortest of all British birds, though not the smallest, and they move through dense vegetation in a series of short, low, rapid flights. Wikipedia describes them, very accurately in our opinion, as mouse-like, and if it were not for their very loud and complex song, we might hardly notice them.
Weight for weight, the wren’s song is reported to be ten times as loud as a crowing cockerel. Here is a video to prove the point:
For thousands of years Jenny Wren’s role in stories and legends has been to prove that size isn’t everything. All over the world stories are told in which the birds compete to be king; the wren hides in the feathers of a much larger and more boastful bird and emerges, at the last minute, to win the race or complete the task and take the crown.
Clever, small and just a bit sneaky is the way forward!
Troglodytes troglodytes: protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
UK conservation status: Green
Pictures from Wikimedia commons.