01 July 2011

Who's Up For A Pint Of Bitterns?

American Bitterns (Botaurus lentiginosus) are pretty secretive birds. It's a treat when you actually get to see one, as they are often in amongst the cattails and bulrushes. When approached, instead of flushing like herons and egrets do, they stand straight up and sway back and forth, blending in beautifully with vegetation blowing in the wind.

Photograph by Walter Siegmund

I don't think I've ever seen more than one American Bittern at a time, and I can probably count on both of my hands the number of American Bitterns I've ever seen. Tony Troche and Jenny Allison, however, can now say that they've seen a pint of American Bitterns. While working in Superior, Wisconsin in early June, Tony and Jenny flushed an adult American Bittern. Shortly after, they came across the amazing scene below...

Photograph by Tony Troche

... four hatchling American Bitterns in a nest! Amazingly, it seems that they've already learned the "freeze and stretch your neck, bill to the sky" routine when approached by people. And even at this young age, they blend in pretty well.

Thanks to Tony for allowing me to post his excellent photo.


Rob said...

Excellent photo of the AB chicks Tony!

Heather@RestoringTheLandscape.com said...

Very nice, I have never seen a bittern except once possibly in flight that looked larger than a green heron and was light brown in color.

Scott Namestnik said...

A great place to see and hear them is at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in southern Indiana. Lots of other good water birds there, too.