American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)

The last time I saw an American Avocet in the park was two years ago, and that was two years since my previous sighting. So I guess I was due. This bird impressed me with its energy. It also demonstrated a foraging method that’s kind of a cross between the sandpipers pecking (like the Marbled Godwit that appears briefly in the video) and the ducks dabbling (like the Scaup in the foreground at the beginning of the video). Here the Avocet wades in shallow water and stirs the mud from side to side with its beak, sometimes submerging its whole head. This stirring or scratching with the beak is similar to what the Snowy Egret does with its feet. Little bits of protein hiding in the mud get flushed and become the bird’s nutrition. As the images show, it seems to work. The bird sources point out that in different environments, the Avocet uses a variety of foraging methods; it can snap up flies, peck at brine shrimp, or plow the water with open beak. What’s odd here is that the bird appears to be solo. They’re sociable and often appear in flocks. Maybe this is a scout and the rest will follow.

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)

More about the American Avocet: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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