Birds on Poopy Perches

I bet you are wondering what I mean by “Poopy Perches”, I know I would be if I saw that title. Am I talking about perches that are man-made and ugly? Or perches that are just not all that appealing visually?

Long-billed Curlew on a Bison Poop PerchLong-billed Curlew on a Bison Poop Perch – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1250, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I am really talking about poopy perches that go by the names manure, dung, droppings, excrement, buffalo chips, prairie patties and meadow muffins.

There are hundreds of wild Bison roaming Antelope Island State park so there are plenty of meadow muffins drying on the grasslands there. Bison pooh is a natural fertilizer but until it breaks down there are birds that taken advantage of these slightly elevated pooh perches.

This Long-billed Curlew was standing on top of a prairie patty after a territorial encounter with another male. Is it just me or does the curlew look like it is trying to hold its breath or trying to keep his gag reflexes under control?

He was really getting ready to start calling.

Horned Lark perched on Bison manureHorned Lark perched on a Buffalo Chip – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Even Horned Larks are willing to hop up on a Buffalo Chip if there aren’t any rocks or boulders nearby.

I’m not sure what this male Horned Lark was singing about but he was doing it with vigor!

Willet on a Poopy PerchWillet on a Meadow Muffin – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/160, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I photographed this Willet on a meadow muffin earlier this week, it looked around, it called from the perch and it preened while on top of the manure pile.

I’ve also seen Chukars and Western Meadowlarks perched on these poopy perches and I am sure there are probably more bird species that do it too.

Bison Poop on a PostBison Poop on a Post – Nikon D200, f10, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light

I caught sight of this Bison pooh from the corner on my eye and had to go back to photograph it. Now I know the Bison didn’t poop on the post so I had to wonder why a person would pick up a Buffalo Chip and top off a post with it. Seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing. Poop on a Pedestal? Why would anyone want to grab a Buffalo chip and put it on a pole?

Bison manure was used by Native Americans on the plains as fuel for heat and cooking fires, I guess the birds have a use for it too.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Pingback: Birds on Poopy Perches » Focusing on Wildlife

  2. Great post Mia. Love the collection of images 8-)!

  3. made my day..unless one has ever been a cowboy, I don’t think you can truly appreciate your poopy perches..Love it, been there done that thing in Central Oregon many moons ago..have a great day.

  4. An entertaining post, Mia. You must be running out of things to write about. Another name for them, Bovine Biscuits. LOL

  5. Quite an entertaining post Mia! You do have to wonder what the story is behind the poop on a post?!

  6. This is too funny Mia. And the last one is priceless. Carol

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