What’s in a name?
Not surprisingly for such a common and widespread bird, the wren has a multitude of folk names. These include ‘titty’ and ‘titty-wren’, along with variants such as ‘cutty-wren’, ‘chitty‘wren’ and ‘tiddly-creeper’. There’s also ‘tomtit’ and ‘tom in the wall’ – in which ‘tom’ signifies something small, as in the children’s fairy tale Tom Thumb. ‘Two-fingers’ is another reference to its small size; and there’s ‘stumpy’, ‘stumpit’ and ‘stumpy-dick’, all of which refer to the wren’s most prominent feature – its sticking-up tail. But by far the most familiar to most of us is the nickname ‘Jenny wren’.
Clockwise from top left: a mother feeding a grasshopper to a fledgling; these birds fly fast, in a blur of wings; nests are built in all sorts of places; wrens sing with wings outstretched; the species spends much of its time under cover.