Bird #307 — American Avocet

recurvirostra (from recurvus, bent, and rostrum beak) americana (of America)

Friday, April 6, 1984 — 1:35 pm

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Mom and Dad had a seminar in Albuquerque.  We were taking them there, dropping them at their hotel, then driving their van home, via Arkansas.  They flew home a week later on our return tickets.  As we drove up from Tucson this morning, I saw that our road, Interstate 25, cut right through Bosque del Apache.  The experiment to place Whooping Crane eggs in Sandhill Crane nests had just ended, and the few Whoopers that had hatched wintered at the refuge with their foster parents.  I was hoping they were still around.

I begged Dad to let us stop and he agreed.  When we got to the refuge, I began to wonder.  We drove through miles of dry scrub without seeing anything except a lone Northern Harrier.  But when we got near the headquarters, we saw several pools of water and a lot of birds.  Almost immediately, I saw ten American Avocets.  They were wading belly-deep in a pond, often sticking their heads under the water or swishing their bills back and forth under the surface.

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