Marsh Wren, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

How to Photograph a Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in Post: How to Photograph a Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren


Here’s how to photograph a marsh wren.

Taking a photo of a Marsh Wren is difficult because it’s a shy bird that lives in a challenging habitat.

But in Death Valley?

Death Valley is the epitome of nothing – except along the Salt Creek Trail. Notice the difference between the foreground and the background in the photo below.


Salt Creek, Death Valley National Park, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in Post: How to Photograph a Marsh Wren

Salt Creek, Death Valley National Park


While walking on the Salt Creek Trail, I saw a woman with a camera.

So I asked, “What have you seen?”

“There’s a Marsh Wren over there,” she said, pointing. “I heard its gurgling call but never saw it.”

I continued toward where she had pointed, pausing every few steps to check if I heard anything.

My wife, who was walking ahead of me, stopped. “I hear something.”

There was a bird call with a gurgling sound coming from the Pickle Weed.

So we waited. And we waited. And we waited.

After about 20 minutes, my wife walked over to look at the other side of the Pickle Weed.

She waved. “It’s here.”

I pointed my camera in that direction.

Suddenly the bird popped up.

Here’re the photos that I took.


Marsh Wren Photo Sequence Lasting 0.4 sec, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in Post: How to Photograph a Marsh Wren

Marsh Wren Photo Sequence Lasting 0.4 sec


Since I was using a Canon 7D Mark II with a frame rate of 10 frames/sec, these four clicks represent 0.4 sec.

Notice that only two (and a half) photos show the bird before it disappeared.

So here’s how to photograph a Marsh Wren:

1) Ask for help.

2) Be patient.

3) Be ready to act quickly.

Much success,

Steve Kaye


Help Birds Tip

Support our National Parks.

Why: These parks offer beautiful landscapes, exceptional wildlife, and memorable experiences.


Birding Resources

Death Valley National Park is so quiet that you can hear a bird fly. Learn more at: Death Valley National Park

Tip: Visit during Winter when temperatures are safe.


Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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4 Comments
  • Kirk Stitt
    Posted at 07:15h, 29 March

    Great series of shots. You may find Marsh Wren at Whitewater Draw during your SE AZ trip.

  • Kathryn Grace
    Posted at 00:52h, 31 March

    Wow. Reading your story, I’m amazed that you got the shot at all. It’s lovely. Can’t help wondering if your hips or shoulders hurt while you stood still for 20 minutes! I know mine would have.

  • Eileen Brownell
    Posted at 16:23h, 07 April

    That’s really something. Thanks for sharing.

  • Russell Dunlop
    Posted at 22:16h, 08 April

    This is the kind of dedication and patience that macrophotography requires. The harder the shot was to get, the more you value it, but it has to stand on it’s own with others. As always, nice shooting, Steve.

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