03.22.20: Carolina Wren

A Carolina Wren watches its surroundings in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples, Fla.

A Carolina Wren watches its surroundings in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples, Fla.

A close look at a very active bird

‍Tech specs

  • Date/time: Jan. 25, 2018, 9:52 a.m.
  • Location: 26°22'27.755" N 81°36'32.046" W (Show in Google Maps)
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1/1250th second
  • ISO: 4000

‍Many birds fit into a broad “difficult to photograph” category.

‍Then there are wrens, a bird that ranks well beyond difficult.

‍Wrens are small — about five inches in length from the tip of their long, curved bill to the tip of their tail — and in constant motion, two factors that make a wren photograph more luck than skill, at least for me.

‍There are only two bird species that are more difficult for me to photograph: Brown Creepers, a wren-sized bird that constantly spirals up tree trunks; and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a four-inch long bird that moves constantly through foliage, seldom providing a clear view for photographers.

‍But I keep trying.

‍I found this Carolina Wren in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Fla. It was one of a pair of wrens carrying building material to a nest location hidden in the underbrush. The fact that the birds were building a nest made it a bit easier to get photographs. Each time a bird returned to the area with some twigs it tended to land on the same group of limbs just above where I suspected the nest was. It would perch for a few seconds before diving down to the underbrush, giving me time to grab a shot.

‍I ended up with about 20 usable photos of the wrens, most showing them carrying twigs and leaves to the nest. But this one, showing the bird as it landed for a few seconds after leaving the nest, is probably my favorite because it shows the wren’s facial features and feather detail.

‍Carolina Wrens are a bit brighter the other wren varieties in the Eastern United States. The back and wings are a warm reddish brown as opposed to the dull brown of the House Wren and other similar varieties. The chest and underside are a buffy orange. The long white eyebrow makes it easy to identify.

The fact that the birds were building a nest made it a bit easier to get photographs. Each time a bird returned to the area with some twigs it tended to land on the same group of limbs just above where I suspected the nest was. 

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