Tuesday, April 17, 2012

American Avocet

Yesterday Gene B. reported an American Avocet at Circle Lake in Rice County, Minnesota. Unable to give chase until noon today, I thought my chances of finding the bird were slim.

The avocet uses its long, upturned bill to feed on invertebrates. Because of the bill's extreme sensitivity, the avocet can capture invisible prey in murky water. Avocets generally nest west of Minnesota--only a few breeding records exist for western part of our state. The species specializes in temporary wetlands. In many areas, avocet numbers have declined with increases of human use of scarce water resources. Avocets have also suffered from poisoning by selenium from contaminated irrigation drain water (Robinson et al. 1997).

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