Monday, March 26, 2012

American Dipper

American Dippers, common along roaring western mountain streams, are North America's only truly aquatic passerines (Wilson and Kingery 2001). A couple of records exist from the North Shore of Minnesota. The nearest reliable place to find this species, however, is at Roughlock Falls south of Spearfish, South Dakota (where this photo was taken).

Also called Water Ouzels, American Dippers bob spasmodically along and in their cascading streams. Often they dive into the turbulent water and strangely resurface looking completely dry. You can see droplets of water falling from this dipper's tail! Their streams can be almost freezing. To survive, Dippers have low metabolic rates, and their blood has extra oxygen-carrying capacity. They also sport a thick feather coat.

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