The Wonderful World of Birds’ Bills… On the Road

I love pelicans. They have that ‘put together by a committee’ look. Check out the sharp hook on his bill. I took this photo in Baja California near Cabo San Lucas.

 

A wonderful bird is the pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican.

Dixon Lanier Merritt

Whenever I see a pelican, Dixon Merritt’s poem pops into my mind unbidden. Birds’ beaks, or bills if you prefer, are wonderful adaptations to their environment.

As I write this blog from my home in southern Oregon, a Rufous Hummingbird has his beak buried deep in our feeder while a Black Headed Grosbeak worries sunflower seeds on the hill behind him. The hummingbird’s beak is long and delicate, designed to capture nectar in the hidden recesses of flowers. The grosbeak’s beak is short and stubby, perfect for cracking open seeds.

I photographed the Brown Pelican in Baja California near Cabo San Lucas. Peggy found the Snowy Egret there as well. The rest of the birds featured in this blog are from Florida except for my final picture of Brown Pelicans. Few places can match Everglades National Park when it comes to unique bird life with interesting bills.

Peggy captured this Snowy Egret on film on the same Baja trip we found the pelican. Both Egrets and Herons have spear like bills. I like the way the Egret’s shadow allows his feet to be seen.

Speaking of spear like bills, how would you like to be on the receiving end of this one? I took this photo of a Great Blue Heron in Florida. While we normally think of Great Blue Herons eating frogs, fish and baby alligators, they are also quite fond of small rodents. I have often watched them patiently stalk mice on the Bodega Bay Headlands of Northern California. Their strike is lightning fast.

This Anhinga in Everglades National Park is obviously eyeing something in the grass next to it. Like Cormorants, Anhinga are designed to catch their dinner while diving and are well designed to do so.

A more typical picture of an Anhinga, drying its wings after a dive.

This Sand Hill Crane and four buddies came strolling into our camp in Central Florida.

When one thinks Florida and Everglades, it is natural to think of Flamingos. It’s hard to find more colorful beaks.

In my last blog I featured Black Vultures in Everglades National Park. This one looks pensive. Again, note the hooked bill designed for tearing flesh off of dead things.

White Ibis are common in the Everglades. They use their long curved bill to probe mud.

This guy is a little fuzzy but any collection of photos featuring birds beaks needs to include the Spoonbill, another resident of the Florida Everglades.

The mottled head and beak of a Wood Stork, also photographed in the Everglades.

I’ll close with my favorite bird. I took this shot of Brown Pelicans just south of Santa Barbara, California.

8 comments on “The Wonderful World of Birds’ Bills… On the Road

  1. Such wonderful observations! Nature’s subtle (or not-so-subtle) variations within the species is mind-boggling. Evolution’s a fascinating thing. 🙂

  2. This blog did make me think of looking at the birds in a different way! I am always fascinated by the colors, of course, but this was also intriguing!

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