Ride, ride, ride…Hitching a ride

As a bird and nature photographer there are always images that I dream of getting, sometimes it is of a certain species or a specific setting. Some of those images I have been fortunate enough to create, others; not yet.

European Starling hitching a ride on a Bison

 European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) hitching a ride on a Bison –  Nikon d200, f8, 1/1000, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 170mm, natural light

Since moving to Utah in the summer of 2009 I have wanted to get some images of a Bison standing with the Great Salt Lake in the background. I had gotten them grazing on the hillsides, rolling around in a wallow, with calves, near the rocks and laying down but I hadn’t gotten the images I wanted with the lake clearly visible in the background.

Patience does pay off because two days ago I was able to get a series of images of this Bison with the Great Salt Lake clearly in view plus I had the added bonuses of having the snow topped Wasatch Mountain Range in the distance and a European Starling hitching a ride.

So, on to my next “dream” shot, I wonder when it will happen.


* It isn’t uncommon to see Brown-headed Cowbirds or European Starlings perched on the backs of Bison.


  1. Julie Brown January 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Patience pays off, and so does planning. This is a wonderful composition, and the bird on the bison is the icing.

    • Mia McPherson January 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you Julie, I appreciate you comment.

  2. Bob Zeller January 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    We all have dream shots in mind and it is always great to see one come to fruition. I am glad that you got yours. A beautiful shot of the Bison.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:30 am

      Thank you Bob, patience does pay off at times. The Starling & snowy mountains made this image even more special to me.

  3. Gene Vermillion January 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    What a nice photograph. It’s great when everything comes together. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:32 am

      Gene, thanks for visiting and for your comment. It is great when things come together.

  4. Laurence B January 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Lovely! Is it the curse of the photographer that there’s always another perfect image just beyond the horizon?

    • Mia McPherson January 27, 2012 at 7:18 am

      Laurence, I think it is a blessing that there is always another great opportunity for wonderful images just beyond the horizon! Thanks for your comment on this image.

  5. Tammy Karr January 26, 2012 at 11:40 am

    That is an amazing photo! The background is beautiful!

    • Mia McPherson January 27, 2012 at 7:15 am

      Tammy, I agree, the background is beautiful and it is what I had been hoping to capture in an image with a Bison in it! Thanks for your comment.

  6. Robert Mortensen January 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Cool shot! I saw Brewer’s Blackbirds on the back of bison on my most recent trip to the island.

    • Mia McPherson January 27, 2012 at 7:14 am

      I’ve also seen Red-winged Blackbirds hitching a ride. Thanks for your comment Robert.

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