Monday, January 23, 2012

Wild Wildlife: Waiting It Out

I didn’t spend a lot of time in the zoo this morning, and I didn’t get many good shots of zoo animals at all—but it was a very satisfying visit nonetheless. As I entered the zoo I heard roaring; this did not alarm me, as it was coming from the lion enclosure rather than, say, the cafeteria or the kids’ farm. It did make me decide to visit the lions and tigers first, though, and so I began walking up the path, lined with tall, bleached grasses, that leads to the “Great Cats” exhibits.

Suddenly, a whole flock of little birds flew into the grasses with the speed and violence of a spattering of buckshot. Because I know a bit about the significance of such behaviors (though not as much as does Lynda at Mainly Mongoose—nor, luckily, do I need to be quite so aware!), I guessed that they were hiding from a predator, so I looked to the skies, where I saw a Cooper’s hawk pursuing a desperate and wildly veering pigeon. They disappeared behind a building before I could see the pigeon’s fate; from what I saw, it could have gone either way—though I admit that I was rooting for the pigeon. The little birds waited a while to make sure the coast was clear before going about their business again, and it was in that momentary, cautious pause that I was able to get some photos of this impressively perched song sparrow.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


biobabbler said...

How do I love this post? Let me count the ways. 1. GREAT observation re: nature and what it's doing and what it means. High five!

2. One of the most delightful and surprising images I've ever seen of a little bird, but if you know the context it's less delightful and more "wow, you're pretty frickin' motivated to perch in there howEVER you get it done, 'cause you, poor thing, are on the menu." Very interesting. Wonder if the little guy was sore the next day. GREAT SHOT!! =)

Anca said...

That is an AMAZING shot! You do need to enter it in a contest (maybe Audubon) with the context of the event. In all my years of birding, I've never seen anything like it. And, like Bioblabber, I wonder if that "split" hurt the next day:).

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

Thanks so much, both of you! I *was* quite pleased to have seen, and captured, that image, and I feel a little bad for having exploited the sparrow's priorities (that is, "Better I stay still while you point your lens at me than that I move and get eaten")--on the other hand, it *did* get away safely.

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