American Avocet at the Marsh

This beautiful and graceful long-legged wader glides through shallow waters swishing its slender, upturned bill from side to side to catch aquatic invertebrates. It dons a sophisticated look for summer with a black-and-white body and a rusty head and neck. During the winter the head and neck turn a grayish white, but the bird loses none of its elegance as it forages along coastal waters or rests while standing on one leg.

Breeding birds of Boulder

Various capture of young birds with parents from the past summer.

Avocet Mother Teaching Fledglings 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 fledglings learning to feed as they follow their mother. The father was just outside this image, chasing away a killdeer from his family.

American Avocet & Babies

This year I began looking more closely at birds around areas of water close to my home. The American Avocet was quite interesting to watch. I was truly excited later in the season when I came across this mother and her two babies. What a lucky find!

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology