Female Mountain Bluebird
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Tonight’s image is sort of a consolation prize for me. I’d really wanted to post an image a pair of these birds sitting side by side — Mountain Bluebirds — but I blew the shot and was left only with the female to photograph. Nonetheless, she’s really cute and extremely photogenic in her own right.
Mountain Bluebirds are a western species with occasional rare appearances east of the Mississippi River. They are inhabitants of plains and prairies and their summer range includes the inter-mountain West. The Tetons are part of that range. This female was part of a pair sitting together, but the male flew as I approached them to make a photograph. The males of this species are pale blue all over, which distinguishes them from Eastern and Western Bluebirds, with their dark blue backs and rufous breasts.
Females of this species mostly lack the males’ blue, but look closely at this girl and you’ll see a few blue feathers on the outer and lower parts of her wing. That’s typical of female Mountain Bluebirds.
My guess is that these birds won’t be hanging around the Tetons much longer this year. They are a migratory species. Their winter range includes the southwestern states and much of Mexico. I’ve never seen one of these birds in Arizona, but Arizona is part of their winter range.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400 f4-5.6 ISII zoom lens+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 1000, f8 @ 1/1000.