Feb 18 2010
If I’m lucky I’ll see this bird in the next few days, but he won’t be this brightly colored.
This is a ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage. By his color you can see why he’s called “ruddy.” ”Turnstone” comes from his behavior. This shorebird eats insects, beetles and crustaceans and literally turns stones to find them. Of course he prefers stony, not sandy, beaches.
Ruddy turnstones breed in the Arctic and winter along our Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. This keeps them beyond the bounds of southwestern Pennsylvania but during migration they sometimes stop on the shores of Lake Erie. If you drive a couple of hours to the lake in August you may see one there. Bobby Greene photographed this one at Conneaut, Ohio.
And why do I think I’ll see a ruddy turnstone soon? I’m on my way to Florida to visit Chuck and Joan Tague and do a lot of birding. At some point we’ll visit a rocky jetty and perhaps find a ruddy turnstone who’s spending his winter there.
(photo by Bobby Greene)