This wonderful bird was on the beach this morning when we arrived. Neither I nor my husband has ever seen one "in the flesh", and we were surprised and delighted to have it nearby for a few minutes. It wasn't very trusting, however, and when I tried to get a bit closer to grab a better photo, it flew away. This picture is the one and only, taken August 7, 2012, at Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park, New Jersey, USA.
We watched it as it stuck that long, curved bill into the sand as the waves broke on the beach, then it swung it's head side to side to find food. I regularly catch mole and calico crabs so that is probably what it was eating.
The black and white coloration means it's an adult in non-breeding plumage.
American Avocets had their problems with loss of habitat and wetlands as water was diverted for human use, and from selenium contamination in their breeding grounds. The parties responsible for the contaminated sites have been made to clean them up and breeding is v...