Tag Archives: Behavior

Boat-tailed Grackle Pair, Singing

Well, it’s rather a harsh song, and can grate on your nerves if you are sharing space with them near a boat launch. That’s where I spotted this pair, the male trying really hard to impress the female.

Boat-tailed Grackle Pair
Boat-tailed Grackle Pair

When they are in the shade the grackle’s blue iridescent feathers don’t show off much but they make a nice silhouette.

Boat-tailed Grackle Pair
Boat-tailed Grackle Pair

The male’s efforts didn’t seem to be making enough impression.

Boat-tailed Grackle Pair
Boat-tailed Grackle Pair

Hmm, I can ignore you, too!

Boat-tailed Grackle Pair
Boat-tailed Grackle Pair

Sheep-pede, Part 2

The Sheep bolted for the barnyard after the Sheep-pede and seeing the pressure washer. Their caretaker went back to the barn, too, for some grain. Clearly the group was won over and towards their pen they trooped.

Sheep and Farmer
Sheep and Farmer

Except these two that stayed behind cleaning up some grain that got spilt by the group leaders.

Two Sheep Cleaning Up Spilt Grain
Two Sheep Cleaning Up Spilt Grain

The shepherd continued to call and one of the two wanted to be with the group more than he wanted a snack.

Running Sheep
Running Sheep

The final hold out was determined to do a thorough job.

One Last Sheep
One Last Sheep – Cleaning Up

Then he scampered along to join his pals.

One Last Sheep - Wait For Me
One Last Sheep – Wait For Me

Sheep-pede

A low key stampede, but these sheep were on a mission.

As part of their Heritage Breeds program Middleton Place maintains a herd of Gulf Coast Sheep that roam the grounds freely during the day.

Herd of Sheep Herd of Sheep

Every afternoon the animal staff go through a process of securing the animals for the night.

Herd of Sheep Herd of Sheep – Getting Closer, Me not ready with 100-400 mm lens!

The sheep know the routine and easily headed towards their enclosure when it was their turn.

Herd of Sheep Herd of Sheep

They got a surprise when they got closer to their nighttime quarters and decided they would mill around rather than go by a pressure-washer that a worker had been using to clean fence that evidently hadn’t been there when they left that morning.

Herd of Sheep, Milling Around Herd of Sheep, Milling Around

Alligator Social Displays – 1

On a recent visit to one of the local wildlife management areas several Alligators were bellowing all around the old rice field pond. Both males and females can bellow and will do it year round, not just in mating season. During mating season they will do it as a chorus. Needless to say, it can be a little disconcerting. You the human have no way to know what a particular chorus is all about and sound echoing on the water often makes it hard to know just where a particular Alligator is hiding.

I watched this Alligator work his way along the bank of the dike and unfortunately couldn’t see his whole body but was fascinated by the jumping water. The “water dance” is caused by an infrasonic signal known as “subaudible vibrations” and is only performed by males.

Alligator: Sub audible Vibrations
Alligator: Subaudible Vibrations

After this performance he was done with his socialization activities.

Alligator
Alligator

He picked a spot a little further along the bank and settled in.

Alligator in Reeds
Alligator in Reeds

Alligator social behavior is quite complex, and include at least visual, auditory, and olfactory components. I found a fascinating article by Kent A. Vliet published in the journal American Zoology and shared by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

You can read the full article

Click to access Social%20Displays%20of%20the%20American%20Alligator.pdf