That Evasive, Nutty Bird!

… the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), that is.

Ever since my first spring kayak outing of the year, I’ve been looking for the elusive Yellow-billed Cuckoo. I’ve often heard their staccato clatter from the treetops, but only seen one or two as they fly to a tree … and at a distance. Well, yesterday’s kayak outing changed that. Toward the end of my outing (actually, I was heading back to the launch site) I came across a cuckoo at very close range. And after capturing a few images, another cuckoo flew in near the first one! Gee, when it rains, it pours!

Unfortunately, the two were not sitting close enough to get a good shot of the pair, but I managed to grab a few nice images of one of the cuckoos:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo


Once again, the use of the kayak for nature photography proves invaluable. Sitting low in the water, it is often so much easier to get close to the wildlife. And trying to find a Yellow-billed Cuckoo by hoofing it around the trees would have been impossible as the shoreline is impassable due to extremely heavy undergrowth. Note the white spots on the underside of the tail … this is one key to identification of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. By the way, did you realize that the Greater Roadrunner is another bird that is included in the family Cuculidae (cuckoos)?

Oh, yeh … also got a visit from one of my River Otter friends:

Northern River Otter


This little guy was heard splashing around, in the area where I found an otter preparing a nest, a couple of years ago.  Could this be the year for photographing a river otter family?  Hope so!




Posted in Bird Photography, Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak
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