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American Bitterns Mating

Trying to look like a reed so as not to attract human attention, but all fluffed out to impress a potential mate, this male American Bittern strikes a formidable pose.  While its impressive call earned it several descriptive common names such as “stake-driver,” and “thunder-pumper,” (to hear this call, go to https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Bittern/sounds) the sudden appearance of white feathers that are usually concealed beneath its wings signals copulation is imminent.

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5 responses

  1. What a great picture! I heard rather than saw several while biking along a river wetland in mid Vermont. I stopped because I could hardly believe my ears. While observing the great thrashing activity in the rushes I saw some brown feathered bodies flailing around. Could this have been fledglings? I wonder.

    May 6, 2022 at 8:48 am

  2. Karen Burns

    For a little needed distraction …..

    Listen to the calls too. I think we heard that when on that platform in Savannah.

    >

    May 6, 2022 at 9:02 am

  3. Bill on the Hill

    Look at those legs, smoking baby!
    Bill… :~)

    May 6, 2022 at 10:27 am

  4. viola

    Fabulous picture, Mary. I recall hearing that unusual “pumping” call when I first moved to New Hampshire, then learning of and seeing this compelling bird. That was more than 35 years ago; sadly there’s been no evidence since, say, 30 years ago.

    May 6, 2022 at 11:48 am

  5. Pat Nelson

    What a fantastic capture. Perhaps he is courting YOU! I’ve seen one only once and heard them a couple of other times.

    May 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm

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