One Second American Pipit Scuffle

American Pipit displaying defensive behaviorAmerican Pipit displaying defensive behavior – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Earlier this week while photographing birds at Farmington Bay WMA I was able to take images of a one second scuffle between two American Pipits. I actually only took four frames between the time the American Pipit in the photo above assumed a defensive posture to when the intruding pipit chased off the first pipit. The American Pipits I am photographing now in their nonbreeding season are displaying some agonistic behaviors including aerial flights and chases even though they are not on their breeding territory. When I saw this pipit open its bill, crouch and call I hoped to get an action shot or two.

American Pipits scuffling over a perchAmerican Pipits scuffling over a perch – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Two frames later the intruding pipit showed up in my photo and both birds acted aggressive towards the other. The frame after this one shows the blurry tail feathers of the bird at the top of the rock flying away and the second bird moving towards the top of the rock, before I could lock focus on the intruding bird it too had flown away.

It was interesting to not only see but to photograph this interaction between the two American Pipits. I could wish that the setting had been less cluttered, that the interaction had lasted longer so I could have had more time and more images of their behaviors but I am happy to have just these few frames of the American Pipits scuffling.

Life is good. Birds are great.



  1. Elephants Child October 28, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Short lived fury? Wonderful captures. And yes, the small birds here ‘punch well over their weight’ on the agression front too.

  2. April Olson October 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Great action shots. I have found many of the little birds very feisty and territorial.

  3. Patty Chadwick October 28, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I love Liz Cormack’s idea of the speech bubble….would sure be interesting to know what’s being said….great interaction shot….

  4. Liz Cormack October 28, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Both photos are great. The second one needs a voice bubble.

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