Sometimes this is a reflection of mannerisms and vocalizations, other times it is simply a side effect of distinguishing markings or other physical characteristics. But once you begin to closely study a group of birds, it is quite easy to realize that not all birds — even of the same species — look and act the same. Of course, it is also a little too easy sometimes to begin to assign human "personality traits" to birds and animals, simply because of their different looks.
Take for instance this group of Cattle Egrets that I spent some time photographing a few weeks back. Looking back through my photos of the day, they each quickly stood out as a unique persona.
There was the cool bird, fit and trim, full of self-confidence:
There was the cranky old codger with what seemed a permanent scowl on his face:
There was the quiet loner who stayed off by himself, meekly blending into the background:
And then there was the tall, wide-eyed, gangly, gawky one — his hair never quite lying straight — who tried but just never quite fit in with the "cool" kids. You know, kind of a birdy version of me back in high school:
Of course, in reality all of these birds acted pretty much the same, too busy hunting for nourishment in the heat of a dry Texas summer to reveal much real personality. But that's part of the magic of photography: it can take a simple moment in time and feed the imagination into whatever wondrous revelations the mind can create.
For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly #53.