Yesterday I had my best opportunities thus far this year to photograph Sage Thrasher courtship behavior and bilateral wing displays on Antelope Island. The Sage Thrasher was on the “wrong” side of the road for the best light but by being south of the thrasher the light was better than other opportunities I have had.
The Sage Thrasher sang almost continuously while it had its wings raised in this display.
Birds of North America states this on their (paid subscription) site about this courtship behavior:
These displays are only rarely seen, and only at low intensities, during renesting attempts or attempts at second nests later in season (TDR), suggesting that their role is largely one of courtship.
Until this year I had never seen this courtship display on Antelope Island or anywhere else for that matter and this year I have seen and photographed it multiple times. I may have been away camping during the small window of time that the Sage Thrashers exhibit this behavior in previous years because I know I wouldn’t have missed it otherwise.
Life sure is interesting when time is spent with birds!