Wing Flapping Displays As Agonistic Behavior

I introduced this series of posts addressing “agonistic behavior” with the following definition, from the Wikipedia article on the subject: “The term has broader meaning than aggressive behaviour because it includes threats, displays, retreats, placation, and conciliation.” This post highlights wing flapping by ducks as an example of agonistic behavior that is clearly not fighting (but could … More Wing Flapping Displays As Agonistic Behavior

“Agonistic Behavior” Among Birds: More Than Just Fighting

A useful introduction to the term “agonistic behavior” is found here,” from Wikipedia—”Agonistic behaviour is any social behaviour related to fighting. The term has broader meaning than aggressive behaviour because it inecludes threats, displays, retreats, placation, and conciliation.” My camera and I see it all the time, from our bird bath to clashes in the (relative) wild. I have documented such … More “Agonistic Behavior” Among Birds: More Than Just Fighting

Motion Blur #2: Photographing American Avocets in Flight

I live hundreds of miles inland from the Pacific, but late in August, Flagstaff was visited by a flock of American Avocets. As you saw in my first Motion Blur post, the technique produces some cool effects. (By the way, like yesterday’s post, this shot was taken at the Old Walnut Canyon Road Ponds. I … More Motion Blur #2: Photographing American Avocets in Flight

What’s With the V-Formation?

It is an inspiring, though common, thing to see flocks of ducks or geese flying overhead in V-formation. A duck flying alone is also beautiful, as is this mallard… http://www.wilcephotos.com/Northern-Arizona/JMW-Birds-Bees-Etc/i-qndbZbn/0/Th/BIF-Duck%3B%20BubblingPonds%3B%20IMG_9073%20C1PSD1-Th.jpg … but a group of birds synchronizing or coordinating their behavior presents us with a different kind of beauty.  This group of Canada Geese flying … More What’s With the V-Formation?

A summer of learning: Butterfly upperwings and underwings

My first “wow” butterfly moment in the summer of 2015, described in Butterflies Part I, was really about butterflies and moths, and their antennae. The second moment of amazement is this realization: One butterfly, and in fact each individual wing of that one butterfly, can be very different when seen from above or below. Their … More A summer of learning: Butterfly upperwings and underwings