American Bitterns can be a little tough to see in tall grass. They blend in rather well, and they don’t move very much. I heard them out the back for more than a week and had a quick glimpse of one flying by. I was lucky they decided to check out the temporary pond in the front pasture. It gave me a chance to sneak up on them and get a short video.
There are actually two of them in the field, though I didn’t catch the second one in the video. I didn’t spot the second one at all until they flew up. Just by luck, I managed to include the extra one in the photo. If you look closely you can spot it on the left side behind the clump of tall grass.
American Bitterns are members of the heron family. They spend their days around marshes and ponds. Their diet ranges to anything that is in the water, including frogs and fish. They’ll also hunt for insects.
They like to keep to themselves so getting them in the front pasture was a real bonus. They don’t usually hang out in flocks, except to migrate, and if you find two of them together it’s probably for mating. The female takes care of building the nest and raising the young by herself. The male only contributes to the honeymoon.
American Bitterns are a good sized bird but not huge, measuring about 23.6 to 33.5 inches long. Their color pattern is meant to help them blend in with the marsh grasses they are usually found in. These guys don’t really blend in with the pasture grass but it still does a fair job of hiding them. And their habit of standing quite still for long amounts of time aids in their camouflage.