Finding the Marsh Wren

Spend some time at a marsh or wetland and you will most likely hear a strange chatter coming from deep within the cattails. A most common bird lives there and is the source of all the ruckus.

The marsh wren is a common bird in the marsh but not always seen. It is small and moves quickly. Photographing them can be quite the challenge because of their small nature and how much they like to hide deep in the dense vegetation.

Finding a marsh wren is the hardest part in photographing the marsh wren. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They are plentiful, very plentiful in fact, especially on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Stop along any stretch of cattails and listen for a bit in the spring and you will most likely hear the constant chatter of a marsh wren declaring his territory.

But to photograph a marsh wren one must be prepared for a long stay. Marsh wrens like to stay hidden. They spend their days buried deep in the cattails but occasionally they come up to the top of the dried brown canopy to sing, often perched high on a cattail or reed stem.

One must be quick on the draw to photograph these quirky little birds. They don’t give much time to dilly dally with the camera. As quick as they come up to sing they are gone again, bouncing around the deep dense marsh jungle which they call home.

It’s this challenge of finding and photographing these tiny little birds which I like so much. They are so plentiful but yet at the same time so scarce when it comes to opportunities to get a lot of great shots of them.

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A marsh wren perched on a cattail stem.

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Marsh wren on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.