A Twitchy Marsh Wren Making A Completely Vertical Takeoff

Marsh Wrens are twitchy almost by definition but this little guy had it bad.

 

1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I photographed this fairly recently fledged and somewhat scraggly looking Marsh Wren four days ago at Bear River MBR (I don’t know its sex but I’ll refer to it as a male). Wrens are known for being nervous and fidgety but this bird was twerky and jerky to extreme and in an unorganized sort of way that didn’t seem to make much sense. This was one of the few times he held still – probably because he was checking me out.

I can’t really explain some of what followed so I’ll only describe what I observed and photographed.

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Apparently he wanted to turn around on the perch so he used his wings to barely lift his body off the reed and twist in the air so he could…

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

land facing me. Befitting such a young and inexperienced bird his landing was awkward but…

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

he seemed to stabilize on the perch just fine. But then…

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

he performed some kind of seemingly spastic jerk where he raised his wings and closed his eyes – for what reason I have no idea. The maneuver seemed to have absolutely no purpose in the context of things.

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Then he started looking up – sometimes straight up and other times at a slight angle like this. I figured he might be looking for another perch up there so I reframed my shots so I would be less likely to clip any body parts if that’s the direction he headed.

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Sure enough, he took off upwards but at an angle I may have never photographed before. He launched…

 

 

1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 400, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

absolutely straight up.

And then when he was less than a foot above his original perch he changed his mind and turned abruptly in the air to our left and flew off without even attempting to land on his apparently intended perch. I know what happened from the shots that followed but they were soft and the bird was clipped so I deleted them.

I realize that this was a minor event but I always enjoy bird behaviors whether they’re quirky and unexplained or not. And besides, I was happy to get this last shot because the angle of takeoff was so unusual.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to please this bird photographer.

Ron

 

 

 

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