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Interesting Encounter


Posted by ADKShooter on Sun May 15, 2022 4:30 am

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Nikon 850, Nikon 500mm F5.6 pf
ISO 640, 1/640s, F7.1

On my recent 3 day birding trip to southern New Jersey I encountered terrible weather, highlighted by gale force winds and unusually cold conditions. While driving near Cape May, at the southern most part of NJ, I encountered this unusual sighting.  These Purple Martins, a large Swallow species, were huddled on the ground, on the edge of pavement, apparently using a communal survival tactic to stay warm.  Since they eat flying insects on the wing they had to do the next best thing to survive so they worked together to stay warm while waiting for better conditions to eat.  While observing this behavior from my car, five more Martins added their bodies to the group. The males are the darker birds and as you can see in the image both genders took equal advantage of the opportunity to stay warm.

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by Mary Brun on Sun May 15, 2022 6:30 am
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Really gorgeous, I love that iridescent bluish color of them and seeing so many of them grouped together are really beautiful.
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by Cynthia Crawford on Sun May 15, 2022 6:38 am
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That is just amazing, Warren! What a wonderful strategy-I suppose they are "groupies" in any case...? So sorry the conditions were so terrible for your trip. (Meanwhile it was in the F/90s here for several days. Too hot for this time of year. Birds were panting. )
Terrific and unusual behavior shot!
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by david fletcher on Sun May 15, 2022 6:51 am
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What an amazing sighting Warren. Clever things to huddle up like that. Remarkable!
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by Karl Egressy on Sun May 15, 2022 11:41 am
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Great observation and excellent presentation of it. Unfortunately I have seen swallows dying on the ground as a cold snap came in early May.
 

by Carol Clarke on Sun May 15, 2022 12:05 pm
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What an amazing behaviour capture, Warren! So clever of them to use the group warmth to shelter together on the ground and under the worst of the wind. Great shot!

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by Axel Hildebrandt on Sun May 15, 2022 12:21 pm
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Thanks for sharing this, Warren! Interesting to see this behavior that looks like penguins in a snowstorm. I heard that many of them unfortunately didn't make it due to low temperature and lack of insects.
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by ADKShooter on Sun May 15, 2022 12:57 pm
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Axel Hildebrandt wrote:
Thanks for sharing this, Warren! Interesting to see this behavior that looks like penguins in a snowstorm. I heard that many of them unfortunately didn't make it due to low temperature and lack of insects.


I was thinking of Penguins in a snow storm when viewing this situation live !! Of all the birds I observed down there, the Swallows appeared to be having the toughest time in those conditions.
 

by Cindy Marple on Sun May 15, 2022 10:29 pm
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Wow. Sad to see such conditions, but what an interesting behavior shot.
 

by ADKShooter on Mon May 16, 2022 6:16 pm
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Thank you so much for voting this image an Editor's Pick. I went to southern NJ to get images of birds I never see here in Upstate NY and as it turns out one of the most memorable shots of the trip is this one of birds that are fairly common here. I very much appreciate your recognition of this image.
 

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