Juvenile Mountain Bluebird Learning To Hunt On Its Own

/, Little Emigration Canyon, Mountain Bluebirds, Summit County, Utah, Wasatch Mountains/Juvenile Mountain Bluebird Learning To Hunt On Its Own

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird dropping an antJuvenile Mountain Bluebird dropping an ant – Nikon D500, f11, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last month I had a few opportunities to photograph juvenile Mountain Bluebirds in a Wasatch Mountain canyon while they were being fed by adults and as they learned to hunt on their own. Watching them being fed was great because they become so animated with their wings flapping, beaks opening and closing and of course listening to their begging calls was interesting too but watching them learn to hunt on their own while the adults were off foraging for food was both entertaining and educational for me.

The young bluebirds foraged on and near the road quite often which allowed me to photograph them without obstructions, none of these are great photos but I do like the behavior shown in the first two.

One of the juvenile Mountain Bluebirds picked something up off of the road and then quickly opened its beak, this happened so fast I couldn’t tell what was going on in this frame until later on when I zoomed in on my camera LCD screen and could make out an ant in mid air falling to the ground. I don’t know if this was the first time this juvenile bluebird had ever tried to eat an ant and spit it back out after tasting it or what was going on.

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird and an ant on the road, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahJuvenile Mountain Bluebird and an ant on the road – Nikon D500, f11, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Then the juvenile bluebird seemed to be looking very carefully at the road and I couldn’t see what was going on or why the bluebird was so focused on one spot on the road until I was able to blow this image up at home on my computer. You might not be able to see what had the attention of the young bluebird in this photo…

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird and an ant on the road zoomed in, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahJuvenile Mountain Bluebird and an ant on the road zoomed in – Nikon D500, f11, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

So I blew the image up slightly, zoomed in by cropping in post processing then put a red circle around what the young Mountain Bluebird was looking at and what it was so focused on. See the ant?

This is file #7489…

Juvenile Mountain Bluebird on a mountain canyon road, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahJuvenile Mountain Bluebird on a mountain canyon road – Nikon D500, f11, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And this is file #7490. Somewhere between the last image and this one the juvenile Mountain Bluebird picked up and ate that ant! I guess it decided it liked the taste of the ant after all.

Birds are so freaking interesting!

Life is good.

Mia

7 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte July 9, 2018 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Just amazing. Every pic is terrific…as is your commentary. Thanks Mia.

  2. Denise Brownlie July 8, 2018 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Your photos bring humour and avian joy into my (elderly) life. Thank you so much ….

    “It’s the next best thing to being there !”

  3. Elephants Child July 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Smiling broadly.
    The first reminded me of photos of a nephew trying orange for the first time, and the look on his face when he bit down on the peel. He wasn’t as quick to learn as the Mountain Bluebird and continued to bite the unpeeled orange – and continued to make THAT face.

  4. Sybill Reed July 8, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Hi honey! I saw the bug in the next frame by the little stone and was sure it was the broken ant! the baby decided the tail end was best! that way it cant bite its tender mouth! Love the photo’s! Love mom

  5. Marty K July 8, 2018 at 11:27 am - Reply

    I love watching young animals exploring their environments and trying things for the first time. I’m glad this little guy was able to get his snack after all.

  6. Liz Cormack July 8, 2018 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Wow, you can see the Juvenile Mountain Bluebird’s tongue in the first photo. It looks like it’s saying, “Blah” about the ant.

  7. Kathy July 8, 2018 at 5:50 am - Reply

    I so agree! They certainly are interesting…their behavior sometimes makes me prefer avian friends. 🙂 A lot to be learned from them.

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