Male Brewer’s Blackbird Bathing and Splashing Water

/, Brewer's Blackbirds, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Utah/Male Brewer’s Blackbird Bathing and Splashing Water

I’ve never photographed a Brewer’s Blackbird bathing before and although I feel that the light colored stems of grass on the left side of the frame are a touch distracting I decided to share a few images of this behavior any way.

Male Brewer's Blackbird in a puddle, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis County, UtahMale Brewer’s Blackbird in a puddle – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The rains we have had recently were much needed, some areas here hadn’t had rain since April or May and were in desperate need of moisture.  One of the fields at the pumpkin patch near Farmington Bay has a low spot that flood a bit when we do get rain and yesterday it was filled with blackbirds foraging and a few of them were bathing yesterday morning. I focused on a male Brewer’s Blackbird that was bathing close enough to me that I could take images that showed the fine details and iridescence of his feathers as he bathed.

Male Brewer's Blackbird bathing in a flooded field, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis County, UtahMale Brewer’s Blackbird bathing in a flooded field – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The Brewer’s Blackbird seemed to be really throwing himself into his bath as he splashed around, dipping his head into the water then shaking his entire body as his head rose above the water. I really do wish those grass stems were not in the frame.

Brewer's Blackbird male bathing, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis County, UtahBrewer’s Blackbird male bathing – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Even though the Brewer’s Blackbird was engrossed in bathing I could tell it was still keeping an eye on me or maybe it was keeping an eye out for predators. The other blackbirds in the area were walking around looking for prey in the flooded field.

Male Brewer's Blackbird splashing water while bathing, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis County, UtahMale Brewer’s Blackbird splashing water while bathing – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When this male blackbird was done with his bath he flew over to a nearby clump of mud to preen his dampened feathers until an accipiter flew past and flushed the whole flock of blackbirds.

I enjoyed my first bathing Brewer’s Blackbird photo session and I hope I get another opportunity like this one without having grass stems in the way.

Life is good.

Mia

Some Brewer’s Blackbird facts and information:

Euphagus cyanocephalus

  • Brewer’s Blackbirds are small, long-legged blackbirds with long tails, rounded heads and long bills.
  • Males have yellow eyes, glossy black plumage with iridescent metallic blues, purples and greens. Females are brown with dark eyes.
  • Brewer’s Blackbirds are social birds that nest in colonies of up to 100 birds. The females pick the nest location and build the nests.
  • Brewer’s Blackbirds lay 3 to 7 eggs which hatch in 12 to 14 days. The female incubates.
  • Their main diet includes seeds and grains and they will eat insects when they are plentiful. They will pick insects off of the backs of large mammals. They are also opportunistic feeders and in urban areas they will take whatever food they find from fast food parking lots, cafes and parks.
  • The range of Brewer’s Blackbirds has expended eastward because of human created changes.
  • A group of Brewer’s Blackbirds is called a “keg”.
  • Brewer’s Blackbirds can live up to 13 years.

7 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte October 16, 2018 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    I like the habitat too. I don’t think the grass distracts from the pics at all. Which are, incidentally, terrific. I love how you captured the droplets as the blackbird splashes around in the water. Thanks Mia.

  2. sue Johnson October 14, 2018 at 9:57 am - Reply

    the stems are part of the habitat; they add texture and interest and beautifully support your beautiful bird-behavior images.
    Love your work, Mia!
    Sue

  3. Marty K October 13, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Fun to see a new species. Congrats on getting such great shots!

  4. April Olson October 13, 2018 at 10:46 am - Reply

    I love watching birds bathe, the interesting thing is they all seem to bathe the exact same way, have you noticed that?

  5. humming bird lover October 13, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Hi sweetie! The bird is sure having a good time! Great photo’s! love ya’s

  6. Cindy October 13, 2018 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Always beautiful images and like Liz said “What stem?” Reminds me of my book cover a bit. 🙂 You always lift my spirits, Mia.

  7. Liz Cormack October 13, 2018 at 7:32 am - Reply

    What grass stems? Yes, they are there but they are not distracting because the eye immediately focuses on the bird’s head and chest. And the fantastic detail.

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