By Science Director Nathan Van Schmidt
Last month, I spoke about SFBBO's research on phalaropes at the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua in Lee Vining, California. Every year, conservationists with Mono Lake hold the Chautauqua as a special birding event with field trips and talks to celebrate the unique birds of Mono Lake and the eastern Sierras. This year was a particularly special event, hosting a "Phalarope Festival" to bring together scientists from across North and South America to host the first group meeting of an amazing collaboration we've built, the International Phalarope Working Group.
Phalaropes are very unique and understudied shorebirds. They're small like a sandpiper, but unlike sandpipers that forage by probing in the mud, they prefer to herd prey by swimming in tight circles. There are only three species, which are exclusively found in the Americas: the Wilson's Phalarope, the Red-necked Phalarope, and the Red Phalarope. While the Red Phalarope spends its time out at sea, the Wilson's Phalarope and the Red-necked Phalarope are even more unusual in that they specialize in hypersaline lakes. ...
By SFBBO Lead Biologist Gabbie Burns
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