Mar 302014

For more than 1o years my short travels have been at the Farmington Bay Bird Refuge. Only once I have witnessed and photographed the American Bittern.


 This winter day I saw my first.  The American Bittern has a very long migratory range.  This stop had to have been to dine.  To fuel up.  The first sighting of a fish he was off in a big hurray…


Wikipedia states; “The American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is protected under the United States Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  It is also protected under the CanadianMigratory Birds Convention Act of 1994.”  To see the whole description of the Wikipedia page on the American Bittern check here.

This guy quickly attempted to grab the first fish he saw.


This guy was pretty fast. Especially considering that the water was rushing by.  Caught by the tail!!

The idea is to get the whole fish in his mouth and swallow whole.  On several attempts he would drop then re-grab the fish.


Eventually he got the fish in his mouth.  Holy Cow!  There was no way for this hungry Bittern to swallow this fish.  His eyes were much bigger than his mouth.  Maybe he thought he was part pelican!  It was hilarious!  He just sat there with the fish in his mouth.  Maybe two or three minutes.  I was laughing out load.  I know he was hungry but really?   Then he tried to adjust a little to get that oversized square peg in that tiny round hole.  And dropped the fish.  Guess who got away?
A little embarrassed but undaunted he flew to another spot on the river.  My time with this Bittern was fun.  He did catch and ingest several fish.  He didn’t stay long.  He had a long trip ahead.  Probably somewhere in Canada.  Thanks for stopping by and letting me capture you.  Another great photographic experience!
 Posted by at 3:24 PM

  One Response to “American Bittern Buffet”

  1. Hi Jim, This is a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, not an American Bittern.

    Best, Mia

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