A Marsh Wren At My Window

by Larry Jordan on April 3, 2012

Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) photos by Larry Jordan

If not for the title of this post, would you be able to identify this bird from this photo (click on photos for full sized images)? If you are familiar with the Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) you probably would simply because of the way this bird is clinging to the bulrush with legs spread on divergent reeds.

This photo would help with the ID, now seeing some field marks other than just the white eyebrow stripe but he or she is still skulking in the reeds as I struggle to get a clear shot.

Sitting in the photo blind at Delevan National Wildlife Refuge, I could tell what it was before I even saw it. I heard it calling.


Then it came out into the open and I could see that distinctive design on its back.

I always enjoy seeing and hearing these industrious little birds.

This time of year when the males are building their nests and singing…

they have to put a big smile on your face 😀

Did you know that about half of the male Marsh Wrens in some populations mate simultaneously with 2 or more females and the males also build multiple nests, typically at least a half dozen dummy nests for every breeding nest used by a female1? I wasn’t kidding when I said they were industrious!

If you want to see one of these guys actually building a nest and singing, check out my other Marsh Wren post. Then get on over to World Bird Wednesday and see more bird photos from around the world from our illustrious host, David Springman!

References: 1Birds of North America Online

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank April 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

Just like our Winter Wren … usually heard long before it is seen. Super pics Larry showing its acrobatic leg work.


TexWisGirl April 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

an adorable little sprite!


Sallie (FullTime-Life) April 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

I have heard them, seen them, would love to be good enough to get a picture of them. Since I’m certainly not, I am so grateful as always that you share your!


Amila April 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

Really cute bird, great captures!


Debbie Miller @HooootOwl April 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

Wonderful Marsh Wren captures, I love the way you started with the more concealed view in this informative post.


Andrew April 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

Wrens are always wonderful little birds to see… lovely images.


EG CameraGirl , Canada April 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

Such a sweet looking bird. Beautiful photos.


Boom & Gary April 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

Great close ups Larry!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


fjällripan April 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

Beautiful photos of this lovely little bird! /Susanne


Arija April 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

What a darling post Larry.I have tried to photograph something similar on our continet but out in the wild they don’t react to well to people or cameras.
Fabulous shots and song as well. Wrens are such tiny birds . . . you must have a great deal of patience.


Modesto Viegas (Portugal) April 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Good work! Great post!


eileen April 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Wonderful sighting and photos, Larry! The marsh Wren is a sweet bird. I have seen them briefly and then they disappear. So your photos are a treat to see.


HansHB April 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Great photos!
Happy Easter to you!


Mia McPherson April 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Thes images and your narration are wonderful Larry. I love the call of Marsh Wrens and they always make me smile.


Springman April 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm

How much fun is that, waiting for that tiny bird to give you an angle? And what stunning photos you got. Excellent information too!
Cheers Sir!


Rajesh April 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Beautiful shots of bird. Very nice.


Mick April 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Great photos of a very interesting little bird.


Pat April 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I love the way you seemed to coax this sweet little wren out of hiding with your lens. Lovely shots.


nature rambles April 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Not a bird I’m familiar with. Very nice photos…glad it emerged from the reeds for you to get these shots! Very hard-working, I must say!;)


Phil (@anotherbirdblog) April 4, 2012 at 12:24 am

Lovely shots of the wren Larry. It’s so much like our Trolodytes troglodytes, always active and not allowing me to get decent photos. By the way 600 birds would be going some but we would try.


John April 4, 2012 at 6:10 am

What a lovely little bird, sounds a bit like our Wren, an extremely loud song for such a small bird.


Liz April 4, 2012 at 7:41 am

Awesome shots of the Marsh Wrens, Larry! It always pay to be patient when birding in case they come closer or come out from behind branches, etc. Your patience paid off nicely.


NatureFootstep April 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm

such a lovely bird. You got some really good shots of it. 🙂 And thanks for the sound. It was very unique I think. Easy to recognize.


Rambling Woods April 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

wow..human men should be that good at housekeeping..Just kidding Larry..I love the instruction you always give as I can always learn.. I should set up a birding blind on my deck…Michelle


Carletta April 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I do admire your focusing in the first two shots.
Such a pretty little bird with a very distinctive call. I like the little clicks in the beginning.
Have a wonderful week Larry.


Mary Howell Cromer April 5, 2012 at 2:02 am

Such sweet faces on these little ones and you took some wonderful photos Larry! They seem as busy as little bees.
Happy Easter season~


Sivinden April 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

Interesting post, – excellent shots! I like the sound too.


dreamfalcon April 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Great photos of the Marsh Wren – and you were lucky that it posed so nicely. They don’t always do that 😉


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