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last night i saw an anhinga!

apparently some people call these birds "snake birds" or, even more incredibly, "water turkeys." water turkeys!!!

they're biggish, slender waterbirds with s-shaped necks and stabby dagger bills.

males are black with silvery stripes along their backs, while females are varying shades of lighter brown with dark, near-black bellies and dark brown wingtips.

these guys love to swim! i'll talk about their swimming and hunting in a second.

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SO, the anhinga are good swimmers. they usually swim pretty slowly, but they control their buoyancy well enough that sometimes you'll see them tooling around a lake with just their heads stuck up. the first time i saw one walk out into a lake i was honestly kinda worried it was about to drawn, but nah, that's just how they do.

when swimming, they wait for fish to come by, then fuckin skewer them on those long sharp bills of theirs. they then toss the fish in the air and swallow them. yum?

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they live in and around swamps, marshes, slow-moving rivers and ponds. they prefer quiet areas where the water's reasonably still/slow.

anhinga can't fly when wet - they don't have waterproof feathers, unlike many other waterbirds! they're often found sunning with wings spread as they dry out.

in the US, anhinga are found from North Carolina to Texas, mostly along the gulf coast; they're also widespread in South America, especially Brazil.

@realmaxkeeble n i c e !!! i love seeing them hang out w their wings out ..

@lizardmentsh the one i saw yesterday was SO expressive, it was super sketched out by me staring it down and trying to inch closer for a photo, lol. (i didn't get v close because i didn't wanna annoy it too much when i ALREADY had it on guard..)

@aflightybroad the only thing that saddens me about yr birding posts is that you live in a different corner of north america than me, so i rarely get to see the same birds

@lizardmentsh ahhh alas! yeah, i post a lot of birds that are super-local much of the time bc i like sharing birds that others might not see, but, that is valid point and thing to be bummed out over ...

what general region are you in, i might try and post some more birds that are found more broadly around the country if i happen to spot some

@aflightybroad rn i’m in the upper midwest, not far from lake michigan.

@aflightybroad my spouse is probably going to do some bird population surveys as part of her masters research this summer so im planning on making her teach me to identify some of them

@lizardmentsh ooohhhh i used to live up in that general part of the country. i hope she can teach you some good ones!

for now, a favorite of mine: red-winged blackbirds are a fun bird to learn up there - the red and yellow bars on the males' wings make them readily IDable, and their call is distinct when you learn it: youtube.com/watch?v=q3QicOAiBX

you'll often see them on signposts by roadsides. may only be spring/summer birds depending how far north you are.
(sorry if you already know them ;; )

@aflightybroad i love red wing blackbirds! went to school in iowa, and they were a favorite of a close friend of mine.

@lizardmentsh ahhh yes! they're so ...... range maps show them as living in florida too but honestly i haven't heard/seen any yet, i miss them .. theyre good, you and your friend have good bird taste

@aflightybroad
They are so cool and neat! One used to live by the pond on my parents' land. We'd watch it out the kitchen window as it drove for fish, then dried its wings while sitting on an old deadfall.

@aflightybroad This is a very excellent (sneaky, damp, stabby) bird, and I really enjoy your birbposts even if I'm vanishingly unlikely to ever see one of them irl this side of the Atlantic. With the exception of the, er, rock dove ofc 😄

@g1comics bahahahaha, well, i did post the eurasian collared dove one time, and there's a couple other invasive species i'll likely post at one point or another, so you never know!

... but yeah most of them aren't too common a sight on foreign shores lol

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