August 6, 2017

by

Bill Maynard, a botanist and former high school biology teacher, has worked for various government agencies from Alaska to South Florida and for The American Birding Association. He discovered the 87,000 acre Chico Basin Ranch to be the perfect natural laboratory to study and photograph birds, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Chico Basin Ranch Natural History Resources : BIRDING CHECKLIST // BIRDING MAP // DRAGONFLY & DAMSELFLY CHECKLIST //

A great example of the relentless pursuit of food by birds, in this case a Western Kingbird and a cactus dodger type of cicada (Cacamas sp). This cicada was securely in the kingbird’s mouth but as I slowly drove closer to get in range for a photograph the kingbird opened its mouth and the cicada tried to escape. ¬†A meal this size is prized so the kingbird went after the cicada and successfully recaptured the cicada and maneuvered it head first so it would slide down more easily. Often birds will first remove wings and heads of insects first before swallowing.

Photography by Bill Maynard