Barnacle Peckers

The Black Turnstone gets its name from its habit of turning over pebbles on beaches to look for edibles underneath. Here in the the park, it displays a more ferocious power. Like a woodpecker drilling in bark, the Turnstone hammers at the vent of a barnacle, and then twists its beak from side to side, dislodging the arthropod within. (Barnacles are relatives of crabs and lobsters.) This flock of Turnstones counted probably thirty or forty members, and they worked in close proximity. They impressed me with their energy and endurance. These are hard working birds. They are also hard flying birds. They nest and breed on the northwest coast of Alaska. This flock is likely charging up its food reserves for that long flight north.

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