American Avocets at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on April 29, 2017

Birding along the lakefront in Milwaukee this morning the prize birds were the 2 stunning American Avocets. A male and a female were present at the beach area. I was near the park when the report came in that they were there. The birds appeared to be skittish when I arrived with dog walkers and joggers but gave some nice views anyways. They mostly rested while I was present. Been waiting for these to show up and thought we had missed them as they have been reported all over in the last couple of weeks. I did not hang around too long with the cold winds off the lake made it feel like winter. Thanks to John M for finding this bird and Mike W for helping get the word out. Light sun started they morning but gave way to clouds with temps at a cold 41 degrees with winds to 15 mph. I saw continued reports that the birds were still being seen at 1:30 pm. Images were taken on April 29, 2017.

American Avocet

Binomial name: Recurvirostra americana

Category: Stilts and Avocets

Size: 18” long, 31” wing span

Weight: 11 oz

Note: From what birders say, these birds are called one-day-wonders as they usually only hang around for one day when seen in migration.

Note: Both sexes are here. You can distinguish the sex of the American Avocet by the curve on the bill. Greater the curve of these two birds is the female.

Male

Male

Female

Swimming offshore

Something to eat…

Looking for something to eat

Some preening

Open wide…

When I arrived, female on right, male on left. Notice bill curve is greater on right bird making it a female.

One side of the beach to the other with some walkers coming around…

Coming in for a landing…female bird in front

Female, greater curve on bill

Male

Preening

More preening

Close up..

Still shot…

One feeding

Keeping a watch…

American Avocet Lakeshore State Park Milwaukee Wisconsin September 30, 2014

I birded Bradford Beach this morning on Milwaukee’s Lakefront and present were 2 American Black-bellied Plovers. I headed over to Lakeshore State Park in hopes that an American Avocet would have come in over night. As I walked towards the beach area I had to do a double take as there mixed in with about 10 Ring-billed Gulls was an American Avocet! It was not long and a jogger ran right down the shoreline. The birds flushed but only to the other side of the beach area. As I watched this bird, it seemed tired and wanted to sleep as it parked in numerous places and closed its eyes. Finally it moved in a just parked with a handful of gulls and closed it eyes for a short period. Along came a dog walker with 2 very large dogs and they went right into the water and all the birds flushed. A couple of gulls returned minutes later but I did not see the American Avocet return. I’m guessing it did in time. As I birded the rest of the park, every where I looked I saw Yellow-rumped Warblers!

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American Avocet

Binomial name: Recurvirostra americana

Category: Stilts and Avocets

Description: Black and white plumage on the body. Reddish-brown feathers on the head in summer for breeding season; white in the winter.  Thin, upturned bill and long, gray legs.

Size: 16″-20″ long, 27″ – 30″ tall

Weight: 10 – 15 oz.

Habitat: Ponds, lakes, and shorelines

Diet: Crustaceans and insects

Nesting: Shallow nest near water such as shorelines or small islands.  The nest may be made out of thin sticks, dried grasses, or a depression in sand.  Typically 3 or 4 eggs will be laid at one time and will be incubated by both parents.  The parents aggressively protect their nests.  After hatching, the young will leave the nest within 24 hours and feed themselves.

Notes: The American Avocet has a tricky way of dealing with predators.  When in danger, its bird call pitch may change to simulate the Doppler effect.  This confuses predators into thinking the bird is approaching more quickly than it really is!

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Sleeping!

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Berry in bill, but the American Avocet did not eat these berries.

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Berry in bill, but the American Avocet did not eat these berries.

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Berry in bill, but the American Avocet did not eat these berries.

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Preening

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Preening

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Scratching

Preening

Preening

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The Ring-billed Gulls pushed this bird around a little bit, but all and all they got along pretty good together.

Sleeping when I left!

Sleeping when I left and it was sleeping right in the middle of about 7 Ring-billed Gulls at waters edge.

37 American Avocets stayed for 1 day at the McKinley Beach on Milwaukee’s Lakefront on May 1, 2012. If you care to view these amazing birds in the spring colors go to this link below:

http://www.windowtowildlife.com/american-avocet/

American Avocet

On May 1, 2012, the American Avocet visited McKinley Beach at Milwaukee’s lakefront.  Sometimes this bird is seen during migration if it strays from its normal course.  Along with many other photographers, I was delighted to capture images of this infrequent visitor to Wisconsin.

During migration, the American Avocet doesn’t spend much time in one location, typically 24 hours or less.  So if you hear about one, you best be on your way!

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

American Avocet

Binomial name: Recurvirostra americana

Category: Stilts and Avocets

Description: Black and white plumage on the body. Reddish-brown feathers on the head in summer for breeding season; white in the winter.  Thin, upturned bill and long, gray legs.

Size: 16″-20″ long, 27″ – 30″ tall

Weight: 10 – 15 oz.

Habitat: Ponds, lakes, and shorelines

Diet: Crustaceans and insects

Nesting: Shallow nest near water such as shorelines or small islands.  The nest may be made out of thin sticks, dried grasses, or a depression in sand.  Typically 3 or 4 eggs will be laid at one time and will be incubated by both parents.  The parents aggressively protect their nests.  After hatching, the young will leave the nest within 24 hours and feed themselves.

Notes: The American Avocet has a tricky way of dealing with predators.  When in danger, its bird call pitch may change to simulate the Doppler effect.  This confuses predators into thinking the bird is approaching more quickly than it really is!

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

American Avocet @ Window to Wildlife

To see the full gallery of images, please click here.