American Avocets at Bear River

I originally went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge because I read that it was the best place to see Avocet chicks. Three years later, I’ve still never seen a chick there. But I have gotten the best pictures I’ve ever gotten of Avocets, and this trip was no different.

We saw this Avocet resting just outside the Tour area on our first visit.


As it turned out, it was the only area where we saw Avocets on our first visit.

That was alright with me as the rich, sunrise light highlighted the gold on their heads and necks.


Further out, Avocets were skimming the water with their strange turned-up beaks which is a behavior that makes them distinctive.


I’ve always assumed they used that bill to somehow strain food from the water. That assumption was challenged, though, when I noted that other avocets were foraging for something in the tall grass.


I know they frequent the Great Salt Lake because brine shrimp is one of their main foods, but it turns out that they also eat seeds, aquatic insects, and crustaceans. They apparently use their curved beaks to stir up insects, not to strain out insects.

I find it impossible to observe birds over any length of time and not want to find out more about them and their lifestyles.

3 thoughts on “American Avocets at Bear River”

  1. These are beautiful photos. I love seeing Avocets here, but this year we only saw a few before they headed out to their summer spots. Sure would be grand to see their chicks.

  2. I love that 3rd shot it’s so impressionistic. I wish we had such a variety of birds around here.

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