Some birds skulk about. Some grab your attention through showy plumage. But today’s featured bird, though often hidden in the undergrowth, still manages to make itself apparent, by grabbing you by the ears and delivering a loud blast. It’s the tiny but very loud Wren.
The wren is actually our most common breeding bird, with an estimated eight million breeding pairs.
Outside of the goldcrest it is our smallest native bird, but this size belies a powerful voice, one of the loudest noises in the natural world when compared to it’s weight. It can knock out about 10 decibels when singing, from a 10 gram body – 1 db/gram. By comparison the loudest animal, the Blue Whale, can hit nearly 200 decibels but weighs nearly 200 tonnes (200 million grams), 0.000001 db/gram. Birds we think of as loud, like a cawing crow, manage about 0.1 db/gram. So you can see just what a bunch the tiny wren manages.
Incidentally, the water boatman is the loudest animal on Earth relative to body size, managing to reach around 100db despite being less than a gram in weight!
Wrens are highly adaptable and in our first year in New Earswick we had a pair nest in an old House Martin nest. They are very good at this, repurposing existing structures to provide a safe and secure territory. Sadly they haven’t nested there again. However, we have had a very active wren in the garden this winter so hopefully it is eying up territory around us.