Spotted Towhee In A Weird Takeoff Posture

Or perhaps it was a threat posture. Or a combination of both. Either way these images won’t earn any awards for aesthetics but this is a pose I’ve never seen before from any bird so I was fascinated by what might have initiated it.

Both photos were taken about six weeks ago on Antelope Island.

 

1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

By the time I got my lens on this male Spotted Towhee he was already in the process of taking off. Or something. I’m not really sure what he was doing, at least not all of it. By the next shot in the burst he was already gone so I know he was in the process of taking off when this one was taken but it sure looks to me like there was something else going on too because this is a really weird pose for most any purpose I’m aware of.

My best guess is that it’s a combination of takeoff and threat postures. Perhaps there’s another bird in the bush and he reacted to it as he took off toward it. And he didn’t go far.

 

 

1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

This is where he landed, only about a foot or two away from his original position and based on his erected head feathers, raised tail and overall alert posture I think he still looks aggressive and ready for a possible confrontation with something. If he was reacting to another bird I never did notice it so I can only speculate about the actual reason for that original pose which I think is beautiful but just a little bizarre.

I’d love to have captured that pose up close and in a less busy setting with no obstructions in front of the bird. I think Spotted Towhees are gorgeous birds and I loved that pose and plumage display.

Ron

 

 

 

 

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