Where ARE YOU??? I can't SEE YOU!

August 08, 2014  •  2 Comments

Do you see it?  One of the most secretive birds in the US.  It is as big as a small chicken, and loves to hang out in wetland areas hunting frogs and small fish.  Chances are, you will not know it is there until you accidentally flush it from its hiding spot. (:-D That is how I saw these by the way.)

Can you see me?Can you see me?

Here, I'll zoom in a little do you see it now? A small white smudge near the middle of the image.

Here I am! Right here!Here I am! Right here!

Still just too hidden to really make out.  So I will zoom in all the way:

Least BitternLeast Bittern

A Least Bittern.  A common bird in the Eastern US.  But due to it's secretive nature, it is not really seen that much.  They live in the cattails and primarily hunt frogs and fish. Since they cling to the stalks of the Cattails, they can get to  places that other classic water waders can't or choose not to. 

Least BitternLeast Bittern

 

The bittern's first best defense...is to do nothing. Flight and fight are not what a Bittern is known for.  More like FREEZING is what they do....then flight if the threat continues towards them.

Least BitternLeast Bittern

Which is why they are never really seen till they are flushed.  They have seen you already, and have already frozen...hoping you go another way.  But when you don't they fly to another spot and freeze again.  Sometimes, as the picture of the juvenile demonstrates below, the new spot is not always the most hidden.  But usually in a few seconds they are diving deeper into the weeds and becoming impossible to find.

Least BitternLeast Bittern

 

So when you are in a area with a patch of Cattail...look deeper, there may be someone looking back at you. :-D

 

Click on any of the pictures to go to my Gallery of Least Bitterns.  Also, if you would like more information about this elusive bird.  It can be found on Cornell Labs' website All About Birds.

Here is a link to the Bittern.

 

Sola Deo Gloria


Comments

Tom Ramsey(non-registered)
Excellent work Steve, now I know how to look for these. Keep up the good work!
Steve Hughes(non-registered)
The first picture is of the Bittern catching the frog whereas the first blow up is when it's facing the camera.
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