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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Teton Tuesday: Seasonal bird behavior

Spring is in the air, and so are the birds! Here are some shots I took of birds exhibiting fascinating behaviors unique to the turning of the season.

California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) are exceptionally attentive parents, often allowing a chick to stay close for two years after leaving the nest. However, even the best parents have their limit, this nesting pair is encouraging their 2012 chick to gain independence away from the protective care of his parents.

Violet-green Swallows (Tachyineta thalassina) perform wild aerial acrobatics as they hunt tiny flying insects over the open water. It is crucial that these birds replenish the food energy stores they exhausted during their lengthy migration to the nesting sanctuary of Tejon. 

Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) engage in dramatic power struggles to fill reproductive vacancies when a breeding individual of one sex dies or is removed from the population. Here, groups of males fight over this all-important role.

A pair of ravens (not pictured) aggressively defend their nest by flushing this Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) from a nearby perch.

This Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is collecting nearby cattle dung that she will use to regulate the microclimate of her underground nest. Dung distributed around the entrance to her burrow will also attract insects that she and her chicks may feed upon.