Tuesday, February 1, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Black Skimmers

Our attentions were captured by a flock of birds one afternoon in Cocoa Beach, Florida. We saw them on a previous visit to the beach, clustered together on the sand near the surf line. When someone would walk by, they would fly up, circle around and land back where they started. We had to go investigate.

There we found not gulls but Black Skimmers. Their unique bills were what helped us identify them when we got home. These tern-like birds are the only species in the United States that has a larger lower mandible than upper mandible. The black skimmer drags it's lower bill through the water as it flies along, hoping to catch small fish.

Black Skimmer

I don't know why they all lined up facing the same direction on the beach. If you know the reason for this, let me know in the comments.

Attention!

Springman at the Pine River Review is the host each week of World Bird Wednesday. Come bird watching with us by clicking on the logo above! Hopefully I will do a better job visiting this week than last. Where does the time go so quickly?

22 comments:

Martha Z said...

They are a strange looking bird. Your description of their feeding reminds me of the gulls at Mono Lake. They run along the edge of the water scooping brine flies in their beaks. They are fun to watch.

Gaelyn said...

They're so bright. The bill must work. I'll bet it would be fun to watch them fish. Could they all be facing into the wind?

Small City Scenes said...

Great shots, Sally, and good info too. they are very cool looking. MB

Pat said...

Nice shots of these unusual-looking birds.

Maïté said...

Magnifiques !

mick said...

Great photos of very interesting birds.

holdingmoments said...

Fascinating bills on these birds.

The birds usually face into the wind, like Gaelyn says. It's easier for them to take off in emergencies.

Arija said...

Great shots! Now that is one bird I have not come across before.
What an incredible beak and splash of red.

joco said...

Hiya Sally,
Beautiful close-up portrait of these unique birds. I was wondering why the lower 'lip' was so much longer. thanks for explaining.
The formation on the ground might be similar to what birds do in flight: if not aero dynamics, then at least wind shield?
(I'm a road cyclist :-)

We love Luna said...

I'm also curious about the line, the picture is fantastic and I'm also enchanted by the close up shot!
purrs
Luna - We love Luna

EmptyNester said...

What cool looking birds! I wonder if they ever venture up to Charleston, SC?

Gary said...

Wow what great looking birds and thanks for the info. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Frank said...

I remember seeing these when we visited Cape May many years ago. Watching them fishing was an amazing sight. Excellent shots Sally.

Hilke Breder said...

Their bills are spectacular! Nice pics! Would love to see them.

Pat Tillett said...

Beautful birds and photos! Very interesting also!

theconstantwalker said...

Lovely images of a bird I have never seen. I am now going to look for a good book of all the birds in the World so I can read about all the new species I see on this meme.

Adam Tilt said...

Great shots of a fascinating bird. I saw a few of these when I was last in Florida and they are brilliant to watch feeding. Quite often you'll find one with a damaged beak from catching on a rock under the water.

Adam @ My Life Outside

Springman said...

No way! That is the coolest bird. What an astounding adaptation. Is it any wonder birds are so fascinating? Great post! ;-)WBW

phylliso said...

I love your shots of this bird I`ve never seen before.This is making me dust my books off & check these different birds out!phylliso

JM said...

Their beaks are amazing! Wonderful birds and shots too.

Larry said...

Great shots of the Black Skimmer Sally! Thanks for the information on them too. This would be a lifer for me. Add one more to the "too see" list

Mike B. said...

Seeing the variety of beaks out there never ceases to amaze me. Great shots of an interesting bird.