Avian potpourri, including some interesting behaviors.

Occasionally I publish a post consisting of photos that didn’t quite make the grade for a dedicated post but I think they deserve to be seen anyway, for whatever reason. Each of the following photos was taken in the last two weeks.


Common Ravens often exhibit a twitchy behavior that fascinates me because I wonder why they do it and do it so often. While they’re perched on the ground they use a single wing stroke to launch vertically a foot or two into the air and then they fall back to the ground. They often do it repeatedly as this bird had been doing. I’ve tried to photograph the behavior many times but I’ve always failed because they nearly always take off the instant I stop my pickup.

It may look like I succeeded this time but I didn’t. I watched the raven do a half dozen or so of those quirky jumps before I got my lens on ‘him’ but in this photo he was actually taking off so technically this isn’t one of those jumps. So I failed again.

Maybe some day.



While attempting to photograph coyotes hunting the thousands of ducks along the Antelope Island causeway this Northern Harrier would occasionally fly low over the masses of ducks further out on the water. In winter our harriers feed almost exclusively on voles and other small rodents and rarely hunt ducks but this bird seemed to get a sadistic kick out of causing panic in the ducks below.

When the hawk would approach the area where all the ducks were it would fly out further from shore and fly right over top of them. Perhaps it was looking for a sick or disabled duck that would make easy prey but I doubt it because how would a harrier get it to shore? Most ducks are too heavy for a harrier to fly with and they can’t eat them in the water.

I had the distinct impression that the harrier was just harassing the masses of ducks below because it never did make an attempt on one of them. It always just flew right on by, seeming to enjoy all the pandemonium below. Sometimes the harrier flew high enough that the ducks didn’t react but other times they did. Big time.



And this would be the result – many of the ducks would take off in a panic. This group was mostly Northern Shovelers but other times it was masses of Green-winged Teals or a mix of the two species with a few Northern Pintails amongst them.

It was fun to watch but difficult to photograph well so mostly I just watched.



A male American Kestrel taking off from a sign on Antelope Island. I don’t photograph banded kestrels very often but this guy was loaded with jewelry. I suspect the bands were placed by HawkWatch International as part of their American Kestrel Study so I’ll be sending HWI high resolution versions of this photo to see if enough of the alphanumeric color band can be read to ID the individual bird.

Yeah, I know. I clipped both wings. Comes with the territory…



Great Blue Herons at the Farmington rookery have been feverishly building nests recently. In this species “stick gathering is done primarily by males and placed on the nest primarily by females” so here the male is landing with a stick he’ll offer to his mate to see if she approves.



She did approve but the male was reluctant to let go of it. She kept pulling harder and he allowed her to pull it toward her but for a while he wouldn’t let go of it. Eventually he relented and let her have the stick.

Fun to watch, even though the rookery is pretty far away.



PS – If you’re on Facebook my friend Loren Nebeker recently posted a photo that includes the entire heron rookery at Farmington. He even got the moon in the background. Here’s the link if you’re interested.





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Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.


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