The wren is not quite our tiniest bird but small enough to suffer if the winter turns colder as do many small species.

During the severe and prolonged winter way back in 1962/3 the wren population underwent a massive decline but since then, their numbers have literally bounced back and recovered to a point where it is thought that the bird is now the most numerous of all British breeding species.

However, I would question that assumption because although the little bird with its very loud piercing call is more often heard than seen as it rapidly creeps in mouse-like fashion low down through the bushes, there must be other species such as the jackdaw and wood pigeon for example that have much larger populations and are much more visible.

When the breeding season begins in April, the male wren builds a series of beautifully constructed nests and upon finding a female, escorts her around to view all of them, leaving her to choose her ideal des-res in which she will lay a clutch of eggs numbering from five to twelve.

In favourable years there could be two broods and the hyper-active male may even have more than one mate to cater for!

The illustration shows an exquisitely lifelike portrait by Rachel Austin of a wren in the snow.