Tag Archives: Bird Behavior

Mute Swan Pair On A Mission

Before I knew about swans using an elevated wing display for “wind assisted transportation” I thought these two Mute Swans might be getting ready to tussle.

Pair of Mute Swans
Pair of Mute Swans

They were moving pretty fast up the far side of the reflecting pond from where I stood.

Pair of Mute Swans
Pair of Mute Swans

Ah, then it became clear: a passerby was handing out snacks. And the two swans shared without any squabbling.

Pair of Mute Swans
Pair of Mute Swans

From the man’s behavior I suspect this is a regular routine. He threw a few tidbits to the waiting birds then went on his way.

Pair of Mute Swans
Pair of Mute Swans

Middleton Place, Charleston, SC
January 29, 2021

Anhinga vs Cormorant

Lots of folks confuse these two water birds, it was interesting to see them side-by-side, watching one of each compete for the same space.

Anhinga and Cormorant
Female Anhinga and Double-crested Cormorant

The immediate way to tell them apart is the Anhinga has a straight bill and the Cormorant’s is hooked.

Anhinga and Cormorant
Anhinga and Cormorant

The Anhinga won the first round of “King of the Hill.”

Anhinga and Cormorants
Female Anhinga and Cormorants

A few minutes later one of the Cormorants returned, showing off his feet as he looked to get closer to the stump.

Anhinga and Cormorant
Female Anhinga and Double-crested Cormorant

An Ibis was on the scene, but had no interest in the competition.

Anhinga and Cormorants
Anhinga and Cormorants

Another view showing off the beak comparison.

Anhinga and Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant and Female Anhinga

Male Mallard Squabble

I had an idea something was going to happen as I watched a female and vocalizing male Mallard close in on another pair in a small pond.

Two Male Mallards Squabbling
Two Male Mallards Squabbling

Quack, quack, and splash …

Two Male Mallards Squabbling
Two Male Mallards Squabbling

the dust-up was on.

Two Male Mallards Squabbling
Two Male Mallards Squabbling

One of the females stayed near the action.

Two Male Mallards Squabbling
Two Male Mallards Squabbling

I have no idea which duck was which at this point. I don’t know where the female Merganser appeared from, either, but she quickly retreated.

Two Male Mallards Squabbling
Two Male Mallards Squabbling

King of the Hill

I try not to anthropomorphize the wildlife I see but there often are similarities in the behavior, if not the intention, to human activity. These Roseate Spoonbills did their version of King of the Hill for at least an hour, with no obvious winner.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

In addition to wanting to be top bird, some of them also wanted to dismantle the “hill,” removing twigs from the main branch, eventually dropping them.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

Some squabbling broke out, but wasn’t serious enough for any of them to leave.

Roseate Spoonbills
Roseate Spoonbills

The pond wasn’t very deep and those pushed off the limb easily stood in the water, until they decided to push another bird off.

Roseate Spoonbills on Stick Pile
Roseate Spoonbills on Stick Pile

Click on any image for larger view.

Tree Swallow Acrobatics

I’ve watched the Tree Swallows zooming over the old rice field at Magnolia Plantation several times over the last month, resisting the urge to photograph them knowing focusing to be futile. They are fast and fly in erratic paths as they pursue insects.

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Yesterday I spotted a behavior that centered around this metal pole sticking out of the marsh that gave an opportunity for some shots. Yes, bird pole dancing with a lot of in place fluttering.

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When a bird landed on the pole it made it possible to focus and when the birds stayed in or flew through the same plane I got some in-focus shots.

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Of course this was clearly a case of needing a bigger lens.  The distance, adjusting for the high ISO (1600 – 2400) and cropping to get a closer view of the birds resulted in non-sharp, but interesting, photos.

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I didn’t see any other tree or man-made device that the Swallows were attracted to in this area.

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In between swooping around the pole the rest of the flock continued bug gathering over the reedy areas of the swamp.

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I could not get any closer due to the swamp and alligators but the dike does curve about where this action was taking place allowing for a couple of angles.

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Click on any image for a larger view.