Yellow-billed Cuckoo Success at Sequoyah Refuge

2023: A Great Year for me to Photograph the Yellow-billed Cuckoo

This year has been a good one for me when it comes to photographing the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Over the years, this has been a difficult bird for me to photograph. I hear them all the time, and I get glimpses of them. I even have one that hangs around my backyard. But to get a good, clean photo of one has been a real challenge.

The Elusive Yellow-billed Cuckoo
The Elusive Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to photograph two Yellow-billed Cuckoos mating, with the male bringing the female a dragonfly. That was definitely one of my most exciting cuckoo photos ever! You can see that shot here [The Yellow-billed Cuckoo’s Mating Ritual].

Today’s photo is not as dramatic as that one, but I’m still thrilled to have captured it. I was driving the auto tour road at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma when I noticed some movement in a nearby tree. I quickly pulled over and parked. Soon I discovered it was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and it was even out in the open! I was able to snap a photo before it disappeared behind the tree limbs.

While not my most amazing cuckoo photo, it’s still a shot I’ve been trying to get for years. I’m calling 2023 my Year of the Cuckoo! With a little luck, I’m hoping there will be more great cuckoo sightings and photos before the year is over.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer

Equipment Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM

Technical Details: First Photo

  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: July 12, 2023 (08:57A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f8
  • Shutter speed: 1/2000
  • ISO: 2000 (Auto)
  • Exp. Comp.: 0
  • Focal Length: 500 mm