The beautiful American White Pelican is one of our largest birds in North American. They have a NINE and a half foot wingspan and can weigh 15 or more pounds! This breeding adult is soaring in flight. The adult breeding colors include the yellow chest feathers and the yellow plate on it’s upper bill which it loses after breeding. Despite their strong flight abilities, they are very awkward on land. I was surprised to learn that they migrate, only spending winters in Florida. In the summer this beauty travels to the interior of Western Canada and the North Western US, where they breed and form colonies on fresh water lakes. It was a treat getting to view this breeding adult as the group prepared to travel north from Florida.
Posts Tagged: bird in flight
Male House Finch
I set up a bird blind in my backyard hoping to capture some migratory songbirds. During April and May in Western NC, many beautiful songbirds pass through on their way “somewhere else“. I had seen a pair of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks that looked tired so I was hoping to capture the pair. Instead this beautiful Male House Finch entered my view. He is not migrating and apparently lives in Western North Carolina year round but I had never managed to capture an in flight image.
I attribute my good fortune in capturing this image of this beautiful bird, to the bird blind that I set up in my back yard. If you don’t utilize a bird blind or camouflage of some sort, I strongly encourage you to get one. After all you never know what little beauty might fly by.
I have always thought Purple Martins (you know the birds that live in the hollowed out gourds) ate tons of mosquitos! Recently on a trip to Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge I spotted someone carefully cleaning the Purple Martin nests. After asking her multiple questions, I learned a lot about these beautiful birds. They DO eat mosquitoes but that is only about 1-2% of their diet. Purple Martins feed mostly on dragonflies! They feed on the fly, meaning they eat and catch food while flying. Mosquitos typically live close to the ground. The Purple Martins don’t fly at night which is when mosquitos are active. I was certainly surprised to learn this fact. They are extremely acrobatic, beautiful birds and I have come to appreciate them much more even though they don’t really eat mosquitos.
I was leaving The Viera Wetlands one April afternoon because it had started to rain and I assumed there would be no more photography action that afternoon. Suddenly this Least Bittern appeared and took off right beside me! What a gift. These small Bitterns are hard to spot because they blend into their surroundings and even more difficult to photograph in flight because it is SO difficult to find them in the reeds. They live a very secretive life and I was blessed to have this one take off right in front of me at a time when I thought photography for that day was over due to rainy weather.
These small birds with their large heads, long pointed beaks and rapid flight are incredibly challenging to photograph in flight. On a trip to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge last fall I watched several of these little speedy fliers zip around over the water. They are so quick I can understand why they are called Kingfishers as they swiftly catch fish and dart back to safety to eat their meal.