American Avocet = Recurvirostra americana

These images of American Avocets were shot over the past two nesting seasons. I’m particularly careful when photographing nesting birds or young, and will not intrude if my presence causes any disturbance or danger. Most of these photos were captured at Palo Alto Baylands, from a public pathway.

The burnt caramel plumage on American Avocets comes alive in the amber tones of dawn and sunset. It’s a breeding season coloration, a harbinger of the little avocets that will soon be foraging in the wetlands and tides.

American Avocets in breeding plumage

Avocet Breeding Plumage - ©ingridtaylar

Avocets sweep their bills sideways, finding prey (aquatic invertebrates) by touch. I often see groups of American Avocets plodding through the shallows and sweeping their bills in unison.

American Avocets foraging - breeding plumage

American Avocets Foraging

American Avocet Nest

American Avocet Nesting Pair - ©ingridtaylar

American Avocet chicks are precocial: They hatch into the world as self-feeding entities, able to forage just 24 hours after hatching. Both avocet parents will generally stay with the young until they reach an adolescent age — at which time one parent will leave. Until that moment of dissolution, both parents aggressively fend off predators, including fellow American Avocets who venture too near the brood.

American Avocet and Chick

Parent and Chick - ©ingridtaylar

American Avocet Chick

Avocet Chick - ©ingridtaylar

American Avocet and Chick

Parent and Baby - ©ingridtaylar

The young seek shelter under the feathers of their parent. I’ve posted a version of this visual before: an American Avocet, leading her young, then taking them under wing. The last photo shows an avocet parent with six legs, as she shelters her two babies beneath her.

Avocet and Chick

Follow Me - ©ingridtaylar

American Avocet and Chick

Huddle - ©ingridtaylar

American Avocet and Chicks

Present and Accounted For - ©ingridtaylar