A wildlife photographer with a penchant for birds captured a magnificent moment on film during an outing in southeastern Michigan. Snapping an osprey in flight with a stick in its claws, she noticed that a smaller bird had hitched a ride.
“I recently watched an osprey flying along the far edge of a pond and noticed that the osprey had picked up a follower,” photographer Jocelyn Anderson told PetaPixel. The follower, she said, was a feisty red-winged blackbird.
Perhaps fearing its territory encroached upon, the blackbird put on an aggressive show as Anderson watched.
“Red-winged blackbirds are fiercely defensive of their nests and will attack much larger birds in order to keep their young ones safe,” she said. “The osprey was carrying a large stick for nest renovations, and as the pair flew closer I could see the blackbird weaving and calling at the osprey.”
As Anderson watched, the blackbird took a break by hitching a ride on the very stick its nemesis was carrying.
Anderson shot an incredible photo and later shared it on her Instagram page, captioned, “A red-winged blackbird looking like it’s getting a free ride on an osprey’s broomstick.
“The blackbird was focused on driving the osprey away from the marsh,” she wrote, “while the osprey was focused on bringing back a good stick for the nest.”
Anderson, a web developer by trade, told PetaPixel she was surprised at how far the blackbird followed the osprey from its nesting spot. Her impressive photo has amassed thousands of likes online.
For the Michigan-based bird lover, great photography is just as much about chance timing as it is about skill and preparation. She feels fortunate to live near a great number of parks with a thriving bird population.
She cites her most remarkable encounter to date as the time she saw a mink, holding a vole in its mouth, at a boardwalk in the summertime, according to GlaszArt.
“We both jumped, and the mink dropped the vole,” she told the outlet. “I backed off and waited for him to come back. He did, and I was able to get a few photos. It was something that was special as it was totally unexpected.”