Animals

By Bethany Gleave and Ian Hinchliffe


A photographer has captured the moment two ‘hangry’ wading birds adopted fighting stances and went head to head in a challenge over food.

Peter Brannon, 40, caught the two crane-like birds in a mid-air kung-fu stance while they both tried to intimidate and swipe each other’s food.

The two limpkins, snapped at Myakka State Park in Florida, earlier this month, can be seen kicking each other fiercely in an amazing aerial show.

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Peter from Tampa, Florida, said: “The limpkins eat mollusks such as snails and clams.

“In this case, two birds were foraging in the same area for clams beneath the surface of the water, and that was a major problem for one of the limpkins.

“He wanted the clams all to himself. The bird on the right began calling loudly and took a fighting stance with its wings raised in an intimidating fashion.

“The other bird turned and raised its wings in a similar stance – then they began the aerial kung-fu.

“Their skirmish style is to jump high and kick fiercely at one another, in this case the bird on the left was a bit higher and got the upper hand.

“By the time the two birds landed, it was clear who won the rights to the feeding grounds as the defeated bird retreated to another part of the river.

“The behaviour of the two limpkins isn’t very rare, however I haven’t seen many photos of the fight for food between them before.

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“This is probably because it happens very quickly and often there is very little warning to get set up for the shot.

“This was a photo I’ve wanted to take for a long time. I’ve witnessed it quite a few times in the past and have had many close calls.

“Thankfully when I was photographing this series the angle of the birds, the light, and action all came together for me.

“Usually one of these things doesn’t cooperate and the photo doesn’t work.

“I was excited when I captured it and was eager to see the photos on the larger computer monitor when I got home to see how they came out.”

Dad-of-one Peter has been photographing wildlife in Florida for the past six years and developed an interest in photography through his passion for birds.

Peter said: “I’ve been photographing wildlife and nature for six years, I got interested in photography from my passion for birding.

“I always wanted a nice photo of the birds I was finding, and the photography obsession took off from there.

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“I visit Myakka State Park often for birding, Florida is a wonderful place to photograph wildlife.

“There’s a great diversity of species, beautiful settings and interesting subjects which make it an appealing place for photographers to visit from around the world.

“I only really photograph birds, I’d love to visit the Falkland Islands to photograph the penguins and other wonderful species there.

“I also want to keep improving as a photographer and use it as a way to raise awareness of birds and the conservation efforts made around them.”