The Ibis and the Hawk

It always happens! Although the white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi) has, depending on the season and breeding status, green, purple, maroon, and brown coloration, it usually looks metallic black unless the light is perfect. All my efforts thus far to get a good white-faced ibis picture have failed. Normally I have my camera with me at all times. But Leonard and I were only making a quick trip to the library and decided to chance leaving the camera at home. Mistake!! A couple of miles down the road a neighbor was flood irrigating his fields. There very close to the road were about a hundred ibis feeding on the invertebrates dislodged from the ground by the water. The angle of the sun was perfect and the birds were very accessible. We often see ibis feeding in a flooded field. They have no intention of leaving until all the feed is gone. We went to the library and, as anticipated, saw the birds in the same place as we returned home. I quickly grabbed the camera and we headed back to the field. I was going to get some fantastic pictures! However, the field was bare and all the ibis were gone by the time we returned. My photo-op unexpectedly disappeared. The ibis should still be feeding. On a flood check in the distance we saw a dark shape and a quick glance through the binoculars confirmed that a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) was eating something. Hmmm? Could the hawk have frightened the ibis? I started to trudge across the flooded field, ankle-deep in water – never mind the shoes. Indeed, the red tail was on a check above the water eating an ibis. He scared away the flock of ibis and managed to kill one. Eventually I got too close and the hawk flew off. The ibis he was eating was probably too heavy to carry away since he left without it. I left the dead bird in place hoping the hawk would return to finish his meal upon my departure. What started out as an ibis “shoot” turned into a red-tailed hawk photo session. And I have yet to get my white-faced ibis pictures. Lesson relearned: Don’t leave the camera at home!

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3 Responses to The Ibis and the Hawk

  1. Pingback: Ibis’ White Face | The Nature Niche

  2. Pingback: Red-tailed Hawk | The Nature Niche

  3. Pingback: Western Terrestrial Garter Snake | The Nature Niche

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