The Least Bittern, a heron species, casts its sharp gaze into the water, looking for a frog or crayfish to pass by. When scared, these birds freeze and try to blend in with marsh vegetation; to keep up the ruse, they'll even sway back and forth with the wind. Least Bitterns breed predominantly in the Mississippi Flyway, though they can be found in parts of Oregon and California as well as along much of the Atlantic Flyway. Loss of habitat and wetland drainage makes life difficult for this hunter, and climate change will not make it any easier. Least Bitterns are considered a species of high concern.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2011 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.