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I realized if I had to choose I'd rather have birds than airplanes.
Charles Lindbergh

I love birds but am no "birder," as I am most often clueless about the identity of species I photograph. The only birds I know for sure are the common ones. You know them too, the redbird, bluebird, blackbird, fried chicken, and such.

This gorgeous bird posed still as stone for about ten minutes at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, on Sanibel Island of Florida. I approached very slowly from afar, to within about three feet, pausing often and snapping photos each time I did, in case the bird took flight. It never moved a muscle, twitched an eye, or flicked a feather, not even when this "giant" kneeled by its side. I wondered if he was sick. Or fake! I became more intrigued by the situation than the photographic possibilities.

After several minutes the answer was revealed. The object of the bird's undivided attention became suddenly apparent when he stiffened, then stabbed the sand with his rapier-like beak and emerged with this crab for a snack. The crab was tossed around a couple of times, then swallowed whole. The yellow-crowned night heron would repeat this performance twice over several minutes, never once winking, smiling, or in any other fashion acknowledging my presence. I felt rather snubbed but nevertheless got this fabulous photo to show for it. And yes, I did have to consult my guidebook to make the identification.


© Danny Kimberlin 2015