What bird is this?

August 17, 2019: American Avocet

What bird is this? https://youtu.be/VtOI3-WkTQQ. It’s an American Avocet! This surprise visitor showed up on the Flyway Cam this morning and back in July. When we first started looking into it, I thought it was an eastern bird moving west. But I was wrong! According to Birds of North America:

“American Avocets specialize in using ephemeral wetlands of the arid western United States, and are iconic symbols and effective indicators of environmental stressors within western wetlands. Wide-ranging among seasons, Avocet migratory movements illustrate the importance of wetland connectivity at a large, landscape scale. American Avocets breed in large numbers within wetlands of the Great Salt Lake, Utah; San Francisco Bay, CA; and the Tulare Basin of California; pairs nest at lower abundances across the northern Great Basin, California’s Central Valley, the Prairie Pothole Region, and the western Great Plains. During winter, avocets occur in loose flocks at coastal and interior wetlands of the southern and southwestern United States and adjacent Mexico.”

This is a very special and unexpected sight on the Flyway. While American Avocets don’t breed here that we know of, this bird is in breeding plumage. Did it get blown here by a storm? Will more follow? Thanks to our camera operators (who texted as soon as they saw it) and video makers for finding and sharing such a special bird! We included a range map so everyone understands just how cool this sighting is!

American Avocet Range Map