Nest building by House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) has been described as occurring in two stages. Males arrive on territories before females and begin the first stage by building a stick foundation in a suitable cavity. In the second stage, females build a soft cup-like structure into the stick base. However, descriptive data from over 300 h of observation of House Wren nest construction in New York demonstrate that female House Wrens actually carry significantly more sticks to nest cavities than do males. Because females perform a behavior previously attributed to males, these data refocus the question of the function of sticks in House Wren nests.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3