Black Turnstone
Black Turnstone. Pictures taken by Captain Yves with a zoom lens.

THE NATURAL WORLD OF SOUTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND THROUGH THE LENS OF CAPTAIN YVES- PART 19

As the name suggests, Turnstones often forage by using their short, chisel-like bill to turn over stones and other objects.

They sometimes use the entire body to “snowplow” headlong into a heavy mass of kelp, exposing brine flies, fish eggs, and other food.

Before pairing with a female, males fly in circles about 50 feet above the territory, slowing to a level, forward flight on rapidly fluttering wings, then dropping to earth with raised wings or in zig-zag flight.

Black Turnstones are extremely aggressive, flying more than 100 yards from their territories to pursue possible predators like gulls.

In this species the nests are made out of scraps not far from the shore but sometimes on river islands

Partners in Flight estimates a global population of 95,000 breeding birds. Like many other shore birds, these Black Turnstones are vulnerable to oil spills. The Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 oiled or poisoned these animals which, led to lower reproduction, and contaminated their coastline habitat with crude oil for years following the wreck.

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