Tuesday, February 24, 2009
American Avocet, Recurvirostra americana, Winter colors. I only see these guys around at low tide. They dip their heads in a scythe like motion, reminding me of pigmy flamingos! (sorry, for the non-scientific comment but they do...) Oh, an yes, they close their eyes when they dip their head into the water.
How they EVER catch anything is beyond me. In fact, I've been trying to figure out how they catch anything at all with that upturned beak. Best I can figure, they stay in shallow water where they can skim the surface of the mud with their beaks, possibly catching worms or other critters at the surface of the mud. It's a totally different tact on catching worms versus their pointy billed bretheren that dive their beaks straight down into the mud to find their food. I'll have to review the pictures (I snapped a lot of them) to see if I can actually find one with a worm in his mouth. I vaguely recall seeing something long and stringy come up but it's almost always easier to see it in the pictures. Oh, and in case you're wondering, the bird book says that the females have the curvier (is that a word? Ahem, more upturned) beak!