Normally when you see an Anhinga, they will be standing on a shore bank with their wings extended. They spend a lot of time under water chasing fish for their meals. When they are finished fishing, they must dry out their wings so that the feathers can be preened and positioned for flight. They are striking birds most of the year, but in breeding season, the coloration around their eyes is quite beautiful.
I have been fortunate this winter to capture some images of Anhingas in their breeding plumage as well as capturing some of their behavior too. Click an image to view large.
This male had flown down from the nest and was picking out just the right branch to bring back to his mate at the nest.
After returning with his “prize”, the male then gives the “gift” to his mate and waits for her approval. The female is the one with the brown neck.
If she approves, the pair then work together to put the branch in just the right spot in the nest.
After decorations are complete, a little quiet time is in order to consider the new brood they are about to conceive. I was able to get some mating shots, but I was at a bad angle to the way the birds had positioned themselves, so the images are not composed very well. I’ll just have to try again next year. Of course, after a successful fertilization and egg laying, the young ones come along and start demanding food 24×7.
It really is a joy to have these nests so close to the berm. You can get some great opportunities if you are patient. On this particular day, we probably watched this nest for about 90 minutes waiting for different actions to happen. It was a great day to witness one of nature’s spectacles.