MARSH WREN

Cistothorus palustris

A sputtering, bubbling song among the cattails is a giveaway that the Marsh Wren is at home. A patient watcher eventually will see the bird as it slips furtively through the reeds or bounces to the top of a stem for a look around. Industrious male Marsh Wrens build “dummy nests” in their nesting territories, occasionally up to twenty or more; most of these are never used for raising young, but the adults may sleep in them during other seasons.

Conservation Status

Undoubtedly has declined with loss of freshwater wetlands, but still fairly widespread and common.

Habitat

Marshes (cattail, bulrush, or brackish). Breeds in many fresh and brackish marsh situations, usually with a large area of cattails, bulrushes, or cordgrass; also in other kinds of low rank growth along shallow water. Winters in a wider variety of large and small marshes, including salt marshes and brushy edges of ponds or irrigation ditches.

Diet

Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including beetles, flies, moths, caterpillars, ants, grasshoppers, and many others. May include various aquatic insects and their larvae, including those of mosquitoes and damselflies. Also eats spiders and snails.