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American Bittern Photos

Photography by Terry Sohl

My Favorite: American Bitterns aren't any easy species to see.  It seems like I'll have a "good year" where I'll see several, and then go many years without seeing one. By the Spring of 2018, it had been several years since I had a good look at an American Bittern, but other birders in the area seemed to be seeing them...everywhere!  I visited many suitable habitats without luck, until May 13th, when I came across two that were foraging in the relative open, right by a road in western Minnehaha County.  Both did what American Bitterns do...they froze as I approached and pointed their bills to the sky, trying to blend into the surround cattails and grasses.  That probably works better when they're foraging in brown, dry cattails, not the lush green vegetation after a rainy spring!  I simply parked nearby and waited, and it didn't take more than a minute or two before they forgot about the guy in the car, and started foraging normally. This is my favorite American Bittern photo because it's not a "scared" bird in the classic Bittern pose...it's a bird behaving normally.  I also like the relative contrast of the green vegetation, and the shallow water that perfectly represents their preferred habitat.

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern 1

May 2nd, 2006

Lincoln County, South Dakota

American Bittern 2

May 2nd, 2006

Lincoln County, South Dakota

American Bittern 3

May 2nd, 2006

Lincoln County, South Dakota

American Bittern 4

May 2nd, 2006

Lincoln County, South Dakota

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern 5

May 2nd, 2009

Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County, SD

American Bittern 6

May 2nd, 2009

Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County, SD

American Bittern 7

May 2nd, 2009

Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County, SD

American Bittern 8

May 2nd, 2009

Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County, SD

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern 9

May 2nd, 2009

Lake Thompson, Kingsbury County, SD

American Bittern 10

May 13th, 2018

Minnehaha County, SD

American Bittern 11

May 13th, 2018

Minnehaha County, SD

American Bittern 12

May 13th, 2018

Minnehaha County, SD

American Bittern - Botaurus lentiginosus

American Bittern 13

May 13th, 2018

Minnehaha County, SD

Click here for the species description page for the American Bittern.


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