Posts Tagged: bird behavior

The Florida Scrub-Jay Sentinel

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Florida Scrub-Jay perched as sentinel (sandra calderbank/

Decreasing scrub oak habitat has caused this stunning blue Florida Scrub-Jay to be uncommon and listed as endangered. The only place this bird calls home is Florida. The entire group will change location if the low-growing scrub oaks reach a certain height. They form permanent monogamous bonds, and live in family groups. Until they find a territory of their own, the young remain and assist with feeding their siblings for several years. It’s typical for them to establish their own family territory near their hatching area. Each group has a sentinel bird appointed to guard against predators. This Scrub-Jay was acting as the sentinel perched on this small branch. The sentinel emits a distinct call when they perceive danger, signaling the rest of the family group to take cover.

Pied-Billed Grebe with beak open, calling

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Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors swimming with beak open calling (sandra calderbank/

The Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors has a black stripe on its beak and a black throat patch which makes them unique. This Pied-Billed Grebe’s call alerted me to its presence long before I saw it. I noticed the Pied-Billed Grebe in the middle of the pond with its beak open, revealing the source of the sound. They are small and chunky and have almost no tail. Pied-Billed Grebes typically dive for food, but they may also chase other birds during breeding season while keeping just their eyes and nostrils above water.


Bob White

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Male Northern Bobwhite standing in field looking upward (sandra calderbank/


This male Northern BobWhite was likely foraging for food as he scurried through the field. Northern BobWhite hunt on the ground for seeds, leaves, or insects, searching for food visually. This BobWhite seemed to freeze when I spotted him as if to say “If I hold still I will be invisible”. The reason for this immobile behavior is most likely to avoid being detected by potential predators. I appreciated the brief moment he gave me to snap his picture.

Male Blue-Winged Teal swimming in evening light

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 (sandra calderbank/

A stunning Male Blue-Winged Teal was captured on camera swimming in a South Florida pond during late evening light. These small ducks dabble by dipping their bill into the water and tipping their tail up to reach vegetation, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.. The Blue-Winged Teal is found in great numbers throughout much of North America. The Male and Female Blue-Winged Teal differ significantly in their appearance. A blue patch can be seen on her forewing, while the rest of her body is a dull mottled brown.


Black-Crested Titmouse

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Black=Crested Titmouse jumping mid air (sandra calderbank/

The Black-Crested Titmouse is a variety of Titmouse that hails from Mexico and South Texas. Their appearance is very similar to the Tufted Titmouse, which is common in the Eastern half of North America. Smaller in size, the Black-Crested has a distinct black crest and a one-of-a-kind song. I captured a photo of a Black-Crested Titmouse mid air as it jumped off a dead tree and onto the sand in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.