One of my favorite locations to photograph birds in northern Utah is Bear River National Wildlife Refuge. I’ve selected some of the birds there that delight and entertain me while I observe and photograph them.
There are several different species of Flycatcher that visit the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, among them the ones I see most often during the warmer months are the Eastern Kingbirds…
and Western Kingbirds. Both of them look rather dapper in my opinion.
There are also many shorebirds the pass through or nest on the refuge, Black-necked Stilts nest on the refuge…
as do American Avocets. Both of these shorebirds appear rather elegant in looks and movements.
Black-crowned Night Herons are common wading birds at the refuge and despite their name, they aren’t strictly nocturnal. Black-crowned Night Herons are year round residents…
but Snowy Egrets are not, they migrate to the refuge. This Snowy Egret is showing the peachy-colored lores seen during the breeding season.
Barn Owls are year-round residents of the refuge and although they are primarily nocturnal they do fly during the day when the weather is bitter cold and there is heavy snow cover on the ground and they will fly later at dawn and earlier at dusk when they have chicks to feed. This one was flying during the day as the snow fell.
Swainson’s Hawks are also migratory birds and they are seen on the refuge during the warmer months. Their diet consists primarily of insects like grasshoppers and there aren’t many of those around during the cold months in Utah.
American White Pelicans also nest on the refuge and come into to feed on fish in the fresh water impoundments.
Yellow-headed Blackbirds, with their mechanical sounding call, can be found perching in cattails, reeds, phragmites and other vegetation as they forage for food. I was tickled to get this male in this pose.
The most common found grebes on the refuge are Pied-billed, Clark’s and Western although Eared and Horned Grebes are also spotted there at different times of the year.
Tundra Swans by the thousands call the refuge home during the winter and can be seen flying overhead, swimming in open water or standing on ice. This adult shows a stained head and neck.
The sound of Marsh Wrens can be heard all over the refuge, they may be tiny but their voices aren’t.
All types of ducks can be found on the refuge during different seasons of the year. It pays to keep a look out for unusual ducks, you never know when a hybrid might be seen like this Cinnamon x Green-winged Teal.
Terns and gulls can also been seeing hunting over the water and nesting there as well. This Forester’s Tern in breeding plumage was hunting for small fish.
This is just a small selection of the birds that can be found at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, a location that I treasure.
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