The Missouri House Wren

My grandparents have had nesting House Wrens for a number of years now.  Next to Cardinals baseball watching these guys go about their daily business is their next biggest form of summer entertainment.  This past Mother’s Day I brought the big lens and made some images.


It is amazing to hear what large and complicated songs come from such a little package.  This guy’s melodies were bouncing off of all the neighbor’s houses.


Here one of the parents is visiting the nest box.  I believe they had eggs in the nest at this particular time.


Here is a little bit of photo talk (like I am qualified to give advice).  These ultra-telephoto lenses have a long minimum focusing distance, or the minimal distance the lens must be to achieve focus.  On my 500mm, this is close to 17 feet!  In the case of shooting this male Wren as he scans his territory, I was able to put a chair next to the screened porch and was probably 10-12 feet from him.  I was prepared and had a strategy to overcome this issue, I just didn’t think I’d ever get close enough to a feathered target to need it!  Out popped an extender that moves the lens a few millimeters further from the camera’s sensor.  Through the physics of optics that I will not try to explain (like I could if I wanted to), the minimal focusing difference drops low enough to get sharp focus of the close bird!

As with everything in photography there are compromises to be had with every advantage.  The good thing is there is no loss of image quality here, because you are adding no extra lens elements.  The extenders are simply extra space holders.  The losses here are the inability to obtain far distance focus (at infinity or thereabouts) as well as losing just a bit of light.


These guys never stop building and redecorating the nest.


I have heard the chicks recently fledged and the parents are already on the wing.  Maybe next year I’ll try to get some shots of the chicks on their first days outside the nest.

3 thoughts on “The Missouri House Wren

  1. I have been equally amazed by the volume and complexity of their songs! A pair is presently raising a brood under my parents’ front porch on a platform typically utilized by Eastern Phoebes. Without the confines of a nest box to define the dimensions of their nest, the structure they’ve built on the platform is as big and surprising as their song: basically a half-dome mound of twigs nearly the size of a volleyball, with a side entrance to the nest chamber within. I’ve observed Carolina Wrens build a similar structure on an open platform within my Dad’s stored camper shell.

    Another great post, sir!

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