This week’s photo, taken November 9, 2013 near Alki Beach in West Seattle, WA, features a SURFBIRD.

The word gets out that SURFBIRDS are hanging out on the rocks near Alki Beach, so I head over there on Saturday to add another species to my year list. I arrive about 10:30am and join two other birders with the same goal. However, the Surfbirds are nowhere in sight. We wait about an hour, and still no Surfbirds. Hmmm. Could the fact that it’s high tide have anything to do with the absence of our target bird? I decide to explore other nearby areas and revisit this spot later in the day.

When I return in the early afternoon, the tide is out, and about 60 SURFBIRDS and 10 BLACK TURNSTONES are noisily feeding with great enthusiasm on marine organism-covered rocks that are now accessible because the water level has gone down. These shorebirds are remarkably tame; as they nibble on the plants, barnacles and other delicacies that cling to the rocks, they show no concern about us humans.

Lesson learned: A primary reason that birds show up anywhere is food. Therefore, when you seek a particular species, consider what that bird eats. Armed with that information, you might be more successful in looking in the right place, and at the right time.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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2 Responses to Food

  1. Works for me, too; I will show up anywhere there is food.

  2. Deborah Pinkham says:

    Hi Joe; Since you moved to WA, the birds you see there are pretty similar to the ones I see here in New England – but I’ve never heard of or seen a Surfbird. Thanks for sharing!

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