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The Avocets of Bolivar Flats

A stand-out species!

The shallow waters and wide mudflats of the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary are alive with thousands of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. American Avocets are often among the most abundant birds on the flats, with 5,000 or more here most winters. The avocets have sensitive bills that curve upward. As they wade, they sweep their heads back and forth and snap up the tiny crustaceans that touch their bills. This tactile feeding method is unique among the birds here. The Bolivar Peninsula is famous for its big flocks of water birds and for concentrations of migrating songbirds. Both National Audubon and American Bird Conservancy have designated it an Important Bird Area, or IBA. Why not plan a visit?

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Avocets of Bolivar

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote!
        [Mixed gulls and terns – Laughing Gulls and Forster’s Terns]
    The shallow waters and wide mud flats before us are alive with thousands of gulls, terns, and shorebirds. We’re at the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, on the tip of the Bolivar Peninsula opposite Galveston, Texas.
    [American Avocet calls]
    American Avocets are among the most abundant birds on the flats today, with 5,000 or more here most winters. Their black and white plumage stands out among the browns of the sandpipers and plovers. The avocets have very sensitive bills that curve upward. As they wade, they sweep their heads back and forth and snap up the tiny crustaceans that touch their bills. This tactile feeding method is unique among the birds here.
    [American Avocet calls]
    Avocet numbers build up in spring as migrants pass through, with immense roosting flocks of 10,000 or more. These waters must be very rich indeed to support so many actively feeding birds.
    [Mixed gulls and terns – Laughing Gulls, Forster’s Terns and Ring-billed Gulls]
    The Bolivar Peninsula is famous for its big flocks of water birds and for concentrations of migrating songbirds. Both National Audubon and American Bird Conservancy have designated it an Important Bird Area. To find the latest information about the birds at Bolivar Flats, following the recent oil spill, start at birdnote.org.

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
                                                                               ###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Laughing Gulls [50264] recorded by G.A. Keller; Forster’s Terns [uned. 3803] recorded by G.F. Budney; Avocets [2963] recorded by A.A. Allen; Ring-billed Gull [3334] recorded by R.S. Little.
Gulf of Mexico waves recorded by J. Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org     May 2014   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#             AMAV-01-2012-12-28    AMAV-01b

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