American Avocet (bird a day)

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November 14, 2008A Bird A DayNo comments


American Avocet

Originally uploaded by Wayne Weber

I did a search for bird of Washington State and found this bird, the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana). It is found around marshes, beaches, ponds, and shallow lakes. It gets to be about 18 inches tall, about the size of a toddler. =)

Straight from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, here are some cool facts about the American Avocet:

# In response to predators, the American Avocet sometimes issues a series of call notes that gradually changes pitch, simulating the Doppler effect and thus making its approach seem faster than it actually is.

# Nesting American Avocets aggressively attack predators, sometimes physically striking Northern Harriers or Common Ravens.

# A female American Avocet may lay one to four eggs in the nest of another female, who then incubates the eggs. American Avocets may parasitize other species’ nests too; single American Avocet eggs have been found in the nests of Mew Gulls. Other species may also parasitize avocet nests. Avocets have incubated mixed clutches of their own eggs and those of Common Terns or Black-necked Stilts. The avocets reared the stilt hatchlings as if they were their own.

# American Avocet chicks leave the nest within 24 hours after hatching. Day-old avocets can walk, swim, and even dive to escape predators.

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