Herons are sometimes colloquially known as “shitepokes” due to their habit of lightening their load when they are flushed into flight. You may wonder why. Well, I’ll just let this immature Tricolored Heron demonstrate.

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

You’ve probably observed birds lifting their tails, as this one did, when defecating. But while reviewing these photos, I noticed that the bird also spread its legs. That’s something I don’t think I’d ever notice in the field. I guess that’s another benefit of photographing birds.

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5 Responses to “Shitepoke”

  1. John

    Nice catch! I hope I’m never standing under a heron when it flushes.

  2. Alison

    My goodness! I think the concept of “jet propulsion” can’t be entirely ruled out here.

  3. Grant

    @John: Indeed. Pigeons are bad enough, but their nothing compared to herons!

    @Alison: I like that theory :)

  4. Larry Jordan

    Wow Grant, those are great shots of an event I have yet to witness. I have read about the “Shitepoke” but never seen a heron display the behavior.

    I feel that the bird’s behavior is the most interesting thing about birding and to catch the Tri-colored Heron in this sequence is marvelous. Who woulda thought that they spread their legs but what better way to keep your feathers clean, no?

  5. Grant

    I definitely agree about bird behavior, Larry. Spreading its legs makes total sense, but it never even occurred to me until I was preparing the pics. If I’m not careful, I think the photography bug is going to really get me…

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