Friday, May 14, 2021

Wilson’s Phalarope

Despite being common in eastern Washington, Wilson’s Phalaropes are rare west of the Cascades. These sandpipers breed across much of the northern Great Plains and other northern states and in the western Canadian prairies. They migrate across western North America and Central America, and winter across western South America and in Argentina and Chile south to Tierra del Fuego. Erika and I dropped everything when, on 11 May 2021, eBird alerted us that a small flock were feeding in a pond at the Nisqually national wildlife refuge. We had no difficulty finding four Wilson’s Phalaropes. The photo does not seem too spectacular until you realize these birds fed almost a third of a mile from us.

Phalaropes are wonderful birds. They have lobed toes, and usually feed while swimming in tight twirls. The females are larger and brighter than the males. All phalaropes have their sexual roles reversed. Females mate with males, but usually desert their mates within a week or two. The females court and mate with additional males. The males alone incubate and care for the young.

1 comment:

  1. another excellent educational piece with photos that are
    plenty good. I saw this specie this week along with 2
    Red Phalaropes at Armstrong Wetlands in Steele Cty, Mn.
    Could not get any photos of value. So of course ebird questioned it - but there were 4 of us on the scope.
    Good enuf for us 4.
    Thanks for another splendid blog!!