June 2, 2018 – Grey-breasted Crake (Laterallus exilis)
These crakes are found in wet grassy habitats in a spotty range from Central America through central South America. They eat earthworms, spiders, insects, and seeds, foraging mostly in shallow water. Because they are very secretive and hard to observe, their range may be larger and more continuous than currently thought.
May 29, 2018 – Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Breeding in northern Canada and Alaska, these plovers migrate through most of North America to the southern coasts of the United States and the coasts of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. They feed on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, running along the ground and stopping suddenly to peck at their prey. Nesting on the ground in shallow scrapes, usually on gravel or sand, both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.
May 25, 2018 – Yelkouan Shearwater or Levantine Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)
Found throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas, these shearwaters breed on rocky islands, islets, and steep cliffs along the coasts of the Mediterranean. They feed on small schooling fish and squid, sometimes diving to capture prey. Breeding between November and July, they visit their nesting colonies only at night. Classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, adults are often caught unintentionally during long-line fishing and their chicks and eggs are threatened by invasive rats and cats.
May 21, 2018 – American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
Breeding in parts of central Canada and the northwestern and central United States, these pelicans migrate to the southern coasts of the United States, much of Mexico, and parts of northern Central America. They feed on fish, tadpoles, salamanders, and crayfish, using their large bill pouches to capture their prey before swallowing it quickly, or dipping their heads underwater like some species of ducks. Groups sometimes work together to chase fish toward the shore so they can catch them more easily and individual birds often steal from each other or other species. Pairs build their nests in colonies on gravel, sand, or soil, creating a depression with their beaks and sometimes lining it with plant materials. Chicks join groups called creches at two or three weeks of age, leaving the nest but continuing to receive food from their parents.
May 17, 2018 – Hardhead, White-eyed Duck, Barwing, or Brownhead (Aythya australis)
These ducks are found only in Australia, though they are sometimes seen in New Guinea and on some nearby islands. Feeding on aquatic plants and animals, they forage while diving, using their feet to swim underwater. Females build nests in plants near water from reeds, sticks, and other plant materials, lining them with down and incubating the eggs alone.
May 13, 2018 – Black-headed Ibis, Asian White Ibis, Indian Black-necked Ibis, Indian White Ibis, or Oriental White Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
Found in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, these ibises are also sometimes seen in Japan, Korea, Laos, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They eat frogs, tadpoles, snails, insects, and worms, as well as fish and crustaceans near the coast, using their long bills to search for prey in water or mud. Breeding primarily after the monsoons, they nest in colonies, sometimes with herons and storks. Males collect sticks and females construct the nests in trees or shrubs near water. They are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to threats from habitat destruction, hunting, and egg and nestling collection.
May 9, 2018 – Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)
Sometimes split into two species called the Eastern and Western Water Rails, these rails are found in much of Europe, as well as in parts of Asia, northern Africa, and the Middle East. Their diet is made up of a wide array of invertebrates, plants, and carrion. They forage while swimming in shallow water or walking along the shore, sometimes flying into trees and bushes to collect berries and fruit. Pairs build bulky cup nests in reedbeds in or near the water. Both parents incubate the eggs and help feed the chicks, which are able to feed themselves within a few days.