Skip to main content

You're to be forgiven if you thought that the Olympics are a purely human endeavor. Not so. It seems that birds get into the spirit of the games as well. They have their own competitions with a diversity of multi-species contestants that rival our own multi-ethnic diversity. Readying themselves below for the 10,000m Fly-Off are many White-faced Ibises, some Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets, and one brave and plucky competitor, the Great Blue Heron.

The competitors line up, waiting for the starting gun:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The tension mounts. Oops. False start.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

They ready themselves again trying to settle back in their starting blocks. A Great Egret jockeys a bit for better position. Once again, the tension mounts as the contestants are poised to rocket themselves forward.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

And then the crack of the gun! And they're off, the White-faced Ibises strong off the blocks, thrusting themselves forward as they take to the air for a commanding lead!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Amazing! The White-faced Ibises are airborne before some of the other competitors even leave their starting positions!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

That's all she wrote, folks . . . the White-faced Ibises leave behind all the other competitors as if they're standing still! It's gold medals all around for the incredible White-faced Ibises that absolutely dominated this event!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

My oh my, what an exciting event that was! Before the race, this reporter had the opportunity to observe the Team Ibis coach offering some animated advice and motivational words to one of his charges. Here, the coach can be seen delivering a pep talk. I heard him say, over and over again, "You can do it! You can do it! You can do it!"

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I wondered if the judges had anything to say. The Head Line Judge, a Double-crested Cormorant, only murmured and didn't want to speak to the press.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I decided to seek out some of the other judges to see what they had to say, but as soon as they saw me with microphone in hand, they took off. Press credentials seemed to have no sway with this group.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I wondered what some of the aerial judges had to say from their embedded positions where they could watch the flight portion of the race unobstructed, but they, too, had little interest in speaking. White-tailed Kites can be like that. They only seemed interested in discussing the race with each other. Besides, my microphone couldn't quite reach them even if they had been forthcoming.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

What about the spectators? Did they have anything to say? Did they ever! As you can see here, a whole gaggle of Caspian Terns were chattering away, beside themselves with excitement at the spectacle they'd just witnessed:

 "The most exciting race I've ever seen!" said one. "I wanted the Great Blue Heron to win," said another, "but I knew he was the dark horse. I mean dark bird."

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Another group of Caspian Terns were joined by a few of what might be Ringed-billed Gulls, one of whom is joining a Tern in squawking in delight. A Snowy Egret on the left seems fairly unimpressed, however.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The complete dominance of Team White-faced Ibis took some of the wind of out the feathers of Team Egret's cheerleaders, seen here looking a bit deflated. The lone White-faced Ibis who infiltrated their ranks is being a good sport, observing the Olympic etiquette of not gloating in the face of a competitor's loss. That's truly Good Sportsbirdship.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The last word on this magnificent match was offered by this Killdeer, still flapping its wings in applause at the conclusion of this exciting Bird Olympics event: "I thought it was just fantastic, and so very exciting! I just wish I were a little taller so I could see better. Those darn Egrets with their long necks get all the best views. But I loved it!"

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

And our winners of the race? Where are they? After their superb performance, they enjoyed a victory lap and returned to the field, where the vanquished Great Egret and Great Blue Heron who were slow off the starting line greeted them with hearty congratulations. The medal ceremony will be held later and your intrepid reporter plans to be there to see the tiny gold medals placed around their outstretched necks. The Bird Olympics don't get more exciting than this, folks!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Originally posted to Kestrel on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Birds and Birdwatching.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site