Posts Tagged: birds in flight

Tight Formation Flight

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Three non breeding Adult Brown Pelicans in flight in tight formation against blue sky (sandra calderbank)

As I walked along the Sebastian River, hoping to capture some birds on camera, I spotted something in the distance flying towards me. Initially, I thought I saw one gigantic bird. As it approached, I realized there were three Brown Pelicans in a tight formation flight.

I have seen massive flocks of Pelicans fly in V formation before. They fly in V-formation because they conserve energy. The upstroke of one bird’s wing creates an updraft and the following bird saves a significant amount of energy. The trailing pelican’s heart beats slower than the lead bird because the trailing pelican flaps less than the leader.

These three Pelicans just seemed to fly along in tight formation flight like an acrobatic display. The lead Pelican soared to the right of the other two. I like to think they were putting on a show for me.


Ross’s Goose landing

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I captured this goose, landing in the water in the Orchestra position, at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge last winter. I assumed it was a Snow goose because the pond was filled with white geese that everyone around me referred to as “snow geese”. Something looked a little different about this one but, caught in the moment of capturing the image I didn’t pay attention to the details. It wasn’t until I processed the image that I saw that it is much smaller than the Snow Goose and the beak is different. It lacks the black “lips” of the Snow Goose. This is a Ross’s Goose that lives in the same habitat as the Snow Goose and sometimes cross breeds with the Snow Goose.

Ross's Goose landing  in orchestra position (sandra calderbank)

Juvenile Northern Harrier

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Juvenile Northern Harrier in flight, hunting (sandra calderbank)

This Juvenile Northern Harrier was hunting in a field in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, USA. It was flying back and forth in an area across a field where I saw it every day for 2-3 days. I originally identified it as a Red Shouldered Hawk but now realize it is really a Juvenile Northern Harrier. Raptor identification is extremely detailed and difficult!

Black-Necked Stilt

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Black-necked Stilt in flight against blue sky (Sandra Calderbank, sandra calderbank)Black-necked Stilt standing in water with one foot up (Sandra Calderbank, sandra calderbank)Black-Necked  Stilt sitting on ground on nest in grass (Sandra Calderbank, sandra calderbank)The Black-Necked Stilt is a strikingly beautiful black and white bird with unusually long bright pink legs and crimson colored eyes. These birds are waders with very long slender bills. Their habitat is typically mud flats, shallow pools and grassy marshes. They summer in the southern most United States and winter south of the United States. I photographed these Black-Necked Stilts at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida in April. They make their nests on the ground lined with sticks, rocks and grasses. The eggs are incubated by both parents, the male sits on the nest during the day and the female sits on the nest at night! I wonder why she gets the night shift?
Having seen Black-Necked Stilts chasing away a hawk that got too close to the nest, I can vouch for their courage as protective parents.