For a little over five years, Jocelyn Anderson has been photographing birds as a way to connect with and learn more about them. Recently, while out photographing some Great Blue Heron nestlings, she came upon a scene that is the definition of being in the right place at the right time. The photograph she took, which shows a red-winged blackbird riding on a stick an osprey was bringing back to its nest, has become a viral sensation.
Anderson first noticed the osprey flying over a pond close to the marsh area where red-winged blackbirds build their nests. Noting that male red-winged blackbirds are fiercely defensive of their nests, Anderson wasn't surprised to see one emerge to chase the osprey. But what happened next was unexpected.
“The osprey adjusted its course so it was flying towards me and I could see that the osprey was carrying a stick for its nest,” Anderson tells My Modern Met. “The blackbird continued its chasing, and at one point it looked like the blackbird was going for a ride on the stick. I was surprised that the blackbird followed the osprey halfway across the pond; I like to think the blackbird was enjoying the free ride.”
The incredible photo shows the power and determination of the osprey. Its eyes are fixed in the distance as it focuses on heading back to its nest. On the other hand, the red-winged blackbird does appear to be hanging out and relaxing as he takes in the scenery.
For Anderson, photographs like this are part of what makes her work worthwhile. “Bird photography is a challenge, but it's a wonderful one and a great way to get a glimpse into their world.” She hopes that the viral nature of the photograph will show people just how entertaining birds are and the enjoyment they can bring.