Avocet Mother Teaching Four Young to Feed

My 11 year old son, Arrow, aspires to be an ornithologist; I’m a park ranger at nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Southern Colorado). We love birding together. This summer we’ve had the privilege of watching a family of avocets successfully nest in a wetland on our property. From the time the light green speckled eggs were laid on the open shore, the parents have loudly and aggressively defended their young. We quietly keep our distance behind some shrubs to capture scenes of their family life, including this image of the four young learning to feed as they follow their mother. The father was just outside this image, chasing away a killdeer from his family.

Treasures in the mud

Going wading

This American Avocet chick was looking for food in the shallows.

Reflections on Growing Up

The mother, with her very curved beak and the father, with his straighter beak, watch as this baby ventures into the reeds alone.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology