Winter Wren
(Troglodytes hiemalis)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Winter Wren is an abundant and widespread species in Canada's mature and old growth coniferous forests, ranging from the east coast to the Rockies. Prior to 2010, the Pacific Wren (west of the Rockies), the Winter Wren and the Eurasian Wren (Eurasia) were considered to be one holarctic species. They are now considered separate species (Chesser et al. 2010). Historically, populations of the Winter Wren were greatly reduced as a result of extensive logging and forest fragmentation during the 1800s and 1900s (Hejl et al. 2002). However, both the Breeding Bird Survey and the Christmas Bird Count indicate that numbers have increased relative to about 1970. Canadian responsibility for this species is very high, since the majority of the population breeds in Canada. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000,000 - 50,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery High

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between early April and late May and ends between late July and early August, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower. These estimates cover the periods of the Winter Wren and the Pacific Wren.

Conservation and management

Logging and habitat fragmentation may reduce breeding densities of this interior old growth coniferous forest dweller (Raphael et al. 1988, Hejl et al. 2002), though effects are not always clear (Freemark et al. 1995, Schmiegelow et al. 1997). Populations can be sharply reduced by severe winters and may take several years to recover (Holmes and Sherry 1988).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Stewardship
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Stewardship