(Burrowing Owl Update Below)
I’ve usually photographed the Snowy Egrets at work: scratching, running, stabbing, feeding the inner bird. Here’s a short video tribute to the Snowy Egret at leisure. More or less.
I hesitated to use the word “loafing” for bird behavior, but was actually led there by the learned descriptions for Brown Pelicans found on the highly valuable “Birds of the World” app by the Cornell Bird Lab. There is mention of these birds clustering together “in roosts or loafing areas,” and of “immatures loafing on beaches or sand bars.” I have to assume that the implied disapproval of “loafing” when applied to humans is suspended when applied to birds. We’re not lecturing them to “stop loafing and get to work.” I suppose “resting” would have served as well. But it isn’t clear that the birds in their period of little or no movement are recovering from exertion, which is why humans usually “rest.”
And with some birds, like the Black-crowned Night-Heron, notably, its difficult for a featherless observer to tell whether the bird is hunting or resting; it’s immobile either way.
Well, there’s much more to explore here. I’ve looked in Birds of the World for daily time budgets indicating how many hours a day birds spend “working” and how many hours “loafing” or “resting,” but that isn’t available for the thoroughly studied Brown Pelican, nor for Snowy Egrets in the wild. That data would require watching the birds 24/7, and that’s a lot of work — who would pay for it?
From somewhere my imagination conjures up the belief that birds work fewer hours for their survival than we do. There are time budget studies for some bird species that support this notion. But not for Snowy Egrets.
Burrowing Owl Update
The Burrowing Owl this Thanksgiving Day morning could not be seen in either of its regular perches, A (north, next to California Poppy bush, invisible from path) or B (below big Fennel bush, more southerly, head visible from path), or anywhere else.
Rumors that the bird had gone to its inlaws for turkey dinner could not be confirmed 😉.