Loves Me Some Ruddy Turnstones

When Swarovski took us birding out South Beach in Cape Cod, I made a beeline for ruddy turnstones. LOVE those guys. They're shorebirds which give them a kind of Dr. Seuss look and they are so flashy looking. Attention must be paid to a turn stone. They are opportunistic and feed on rocky and sandy beaches during winter and on migration, by turning over rocks and pebbles (oh hey, a bird living up to it's name--shocked, I'm shocked I tells ya'). They'll also turn over seaweed, shells, and even garbage. Traditionally, I think they ate invertebrates and tiny fish, but I've seen them around carrion and once watched my father-in-law feed them oyster crackers. I just read on BNA that they will also go for other birds, I wonder if people will dispise them as much as blue jays now?

There were some people digging up clams while we were birding along the beach. When they would leave, turnstones would run over and see if they could find any left overs. Click here (click on the Watch In High Quality link) and you can watch a digivideo of the above ruddy turnstone feeding on clam bits in a shell (keep the volume low, the wind is kind of loud).

And they fight! This is part of the brawl that's in the video I posted earlier (click on the Watch In High Quality link). Now, BNA reads, "Less aggressive during nonbreeding season, though extremely territorial when feeding in flocks." What are they like in breeding mode when they are more aggressive??

I think we can see who had the upper beak in this shot. Check out the dude on the right--completely on its side-belly facing the camera. With that sassy plumage, they could qualify for the WWE.