The elusive American Bittern

It’s always a thrill to spot an American Bittern! If you have the good fortune to encounter one at all, it is usually well-camouflaged – and it’s often likely to disappear from view quickly.img_6564When disturbed, the Bittern will frequently elongate his neck and point his head skyward, as if trying to blend in even more with the reeds.

This one seemed quite unperturbed as he foraged very slowly in a clearing on a small island across the pond from the boardwalk. Shhhh….he didn’t even know we were looking!img_6573These “secretive” birds make the most curious, “loud pumping sound – oong-KA-chunk!”, especially during breeding season (Audubon Field Guide to Birds, Eastern Region, p. 365).  Listen to this audio from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for a sample!

12 thoughts on “The elusive American Bittern

  1. Oh what a treat to get several photos of the A. bittern, BJ! I had the pleasure of seeing one last week while visiting a wetland refuge and I am still treasuring the moments and photos. They are so very very secretive, and camouflaged too — great that you snapped these off.

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