Readers’ wildlife photos

February 13, 2022 • 8:30 am

It’s Sunday: the day for a batch of themed bird photos from John Avise. John’s narrative and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them:

Geometric Design “4”

Whenever a long-legged waterbird walks along a shoreline, there come brief moments when one foot is lifted off the ground.  At such times, the bird’s two legs often form a striking geometric pattern that resembles the numeral “4” (if the bird is walking to the right), or a “backward 4 or P” (if the bird is waking to the left).

This week’s photos show several examples of what I’m talking about.  In each case, I merely happened to photograph the bird at the exact time it was raising a foot.  Note too that the relevant joint that seems to be bent backward is actually the ankle joint (not the knee joint)!  I photographed the White Ibis, Little Blue Heron, and Limpkin in Florida; all others in California.

White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) juvenile going right:

White Ibis juvenile going left:

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) going right:

Black-necked Stilt going left:

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) going right:

Little Blue Heron going left:

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) going right:

Greater Yellowlegs going left:

Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) going right:

Long-billed Curlew going left:

Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) going right:

Reddish Egret going left:

White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) going right:

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) going right:

Pectoral Sandpiper (Caladris melanotos) going right:

Willet (Tringa semipalmata) going right:

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) going right:

Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis) making a “44”:

15 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. This just reinforces how divided this country is. Everybody’s going either left or right. No moderates. The last two are apparently Barack Obama fans.

  2. I was so focused on the 4-mations that I forgot to admire the beauty of the birds, themselves. Had to go back! Great photos.

    The long bills of the shorebirds are endlessly fascinating to me. Wildlife biologists who deal with cranes and herons apparently have to be especially mindful of the impressive mouthpieces. The birds can strike with lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy….and go right for the eyes!

    1. I can personally vouch for the fact that herons can be quite hazardous to wildlife biologists! Many years ago I was working inside a colony of grey herons (Ardea cinerea) in flooded tamarisk trees. As I passed beneath a nest that was just a bit above head height a nearly full grown heron chick leaned over and jabbed at me with its beak, scoring a direct hit in the middle of my skull. No serious injury was sustained but boy did it hurt!

  3. I always look forward to this Sunday treat. Many thanks to John for his bird themes and photos. He seems to have a good shot of most of North America’s bird species! I can dream about achieving the same (but admittedly am starting a bit late in life).

    Love the final “44”.

  4. The stilt shows how a left-handed 4 is transformed by reflection to a right handed 4…

    …assuming if they point their head left, we can call that left handed…

    This wasn’t in Just So Stories, was it? How the first numbers were made?… I’ll tale a look…

  5. Thanks for the levity coupled with gorgeous subjects, John! Nothing like a seemingly whimsical theme generating such a witty and clever set of nature photos! You might also have a nice theme for Valentine’s Day, such as swan heads and necks making heart shapes and such delights.

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