An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide –

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 the sudden appearance of white feathers that are usually concealed beneath its wings signals copulation is imminent.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s