One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small short-winged songbird found chiefly in the New World.
Family Troglodytidae: many genera and numerous species, in particular the very small Troglodytes troglodytes (winter wren), which has a short cocked tail and is the only wren that occurs the Old World
- ‘The following spring, other birds - including bluebirds, tree swallows, house wrens and a host of other secondary cavity-nesting species - scout out and lay claim to these secondhand houses.’
- ‘By the way, I've been called to task for not mentioning that safflower seed is very popular with cardinals, chickadees, blue jays, doves, house finches, wrens, titmice and even bluebirds.’
- ‘In early March, many birds, such as wrens, robins and dunnocks, begin to set up breeding territories.’
- ‘Those who post to the MassBird have been exchanging information on the interesting crannies, nooks, crevices, openings, cracks, fissures and the like where they have observed these ingenious wrens nesting.’
- ‘Like most wrens, Marsh Wrens eat primarily insects and spiders.’
- ‘Use suet or specialty suet cakes with added berries or peanuts to attract woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, Carolina wrens and wintering warblers.’
- ‘A corner devoted to raspberries, blueberries and blackberries brings in wrens, blue jays and towhees, and also attracts Maya and Delia for daily pilgrimages.’
- ‘The Carolina wren of the southeastern United States, for example, extends its breeding range northward in years of mild winters, until a harsh winter wipes out all the wrens for hundreds of miles at the northern edge of the range.’
- ‘Birds such as dunnocks, robins and wrens prefer a hedgerow which is thick at the bottom.’
- ‘Although the complex syncopated rhythms of duets can sound to the untrained ear as if they are coming from one bird, they are the efforts of two wrens perched side by side and interposing their notes with precise timing.’
- ‘Some duet patterns of neighboring families can be nearly identical, although playback experiments have shown that the wrens can identify neighbors solely by hearing their duets.’
- ‘This is one of the many birds that until the last several decades was restricted to our southern states, but like tufted titmice, cardinals, Carolina wrens and mockingbirds, it is now an established breeder in parts of New England.’
- ‘The wind-shaped bushes on the edge sheltered robins, tits and wrens.’
- ‘Down in the canyon, I often see the house wren, acorn and Nuttall's woodpeckers, wrentit, and, in winter, the yellow-rumped warbler.’
- ‘My own small back garden contains the live nests of wrens, blackbirds and sparrows, so there will be scores more on the campus.’
- ‘Suspicion is first aroused if breeding wrens find a nestling home alone, as the imposter will eject all the natural offspring.’
- ‘Other insect-eating birds include bluebirds, martins and wrens.’
- ‘Enemy number two is the house wren that routinely takes over nest boxes occupied by bluebirds and other hole-nesting birds, by puncturing the eggs or removing young nestlings…’
- ‘The Rock Wren is the largest wren in Washington.’
- ‘Lucky suet providers might also host creepers, kinglets, warblers, and wrens, none of which typically visit seed feeders.’
2usually with modifier Any of a number of small songbirds that resemble the true wrens in size or appearance.
Old English wrenna, of Germanic origin.
(in the UK) a member of the former Women's Royal Naval Service.
- ‘Ginge Thomas had enrolled in the Women's Royal Naval Service - the Wrens - in March 1943, moving from Swansea to London.’
- ‘Pat Farrington, of the Association of Wrens, which meets at St Denys' Church once a month, said elderly members who rely on cars would not be able to attend because of the proposed changes.’
- ‘When she was in the Wrens during the war, her friends used to call her Bossy Rossy.’
- ‘Fanny Gore Brown and her fellow Wrens plotted the movements of German ships and submarines.’
- ‘When war broke out she became secretary of the local Home Guard in Spalding, but had really set her heart on joining the Wrens and, against her father's wishes, secretly applied.’
- ‘Her accomplishments included becoming captain of the first British women's cricket team to tour Australia and leading the first group of Wrens to serve overseas in Singapore.’
- ‘My father was in the Air Raid Precautions unit and my mother in the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, my eldest sister in the WAAF and my middle sister in the Wrens.’
- ‘On Sunday, July 31 the York branches of the Association of Wrens and the Royal Marines united in a joint service at All Saints, Pavement for the rededication of their Standards.’
- ‘A number of Wrens and Wren officers served aboard the big liners, such as the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary, the Aquitania, Mauretania and Regina del Pacifico, mostly sailing from the Tail of the Bank on the Clyde in Scotland.’
- ‘Other jobs followed: wages clerk, waitress, shop assistant and then, when she was 17 and desperate to escape from home, she joined the Wrens.’
First World War: originally in the plural, from the abbreviation WRNS.
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