Friday, May 11, 2012
I saw this American Bittern today in a small wetland south of Pierre. The bird froze in place when I stopped my car next to it and rolled down the window. This behavior, sometimes called, bitterning, is often used by bitterns to avoid detection by potential enemies. It works quite well when the bird is standing in reeds and its coloration allows it to blend in with the vegetation. However, when the bittern is standing out in the open, it looks rather silly standing there like a statue. I watched the bird for about five minutes, and it never moved a muscle. Since I left without causing the bittern any harm, I suppose the bird's bitterning tactic worked.