Juvenile Mountain Bluebird

I often photograph Mountain Bluebirds on my Montana trips but I’ve seldom had the opportunity to work with juveniles.  That changed last week when we found a young bird hunting from a fence in early morning light.

 

mountain bluebird 3184 ron dudley

 1/3200, f/5.6, ISO 640, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light

At first it kept a wary eye out for any sign of danger coming from my pickup and seemed intrigued by the clicking noises from two cameras firing away.

 

 

mountain bluebird 3203 ron dudley

  1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 640, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light

 But soon it began moving down the fence as it hunted for insects below.

 

 

mountain bluebird 3207 ron dudley

 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 640, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light

 Here it had spotted prey in the grasses beneath the fence line…

 

 

mountain bluebird 3208 ron dudley

  1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 640, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light

 and did a free fall as it dropped toward the insect.

 

 

mountain bluebird 3218 ron dudley

  1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 640, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, natural light

It then moved down the fence once again.  I didn’t see this bird catch many insects and I suspect it was still honing its hunting skills.

Some folks don’t like barbed wire perches but I’m fine with it if it’s rusty and I also like the rustic old fence posts that are so prevalent in the area.

The Mountain Bluebird is very different in many ways from other thrushes.

  • few other thrushes are cavity nesters
  • it prefers much more open habitat than other thrushes
  • a higher proportion of its diet consists of insects than most thrushes
  • it often hovers while foraging which is atypical of thrushes

In fact, it has been suggested that the Mountain Bluebird resembles a scaled-down version of the American Kestrel more than it does a thrush.

Ron

 

 

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