Nesting American Avocets at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

/, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Birds, Box Elder County, Utah/Nesting American Avocets at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

American Avocet female presumably on nestAmerican Avocet female presumably on nest – Nikon D500, f8, 1/800, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Earlier this month I was able to photograph a pair of American Avocets in the marshes of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and watch them as they fed side by side and to observe how they reacted to another pair of avocets that flew into their territory.

The pair of American Avocets were feeding in the grasses and the water right next to the edge of the grasses when I first saw them then the female squatted down on what I presume to be their nest. I say “presume” because I could not see eggs due to the height of the grasses in front of the avocet but when the female settled down into the grass I noticed her moving her chest back and forth and I have seen that behavior before when avocets switch places during incubation.

When the other pair of avocets flew in both of these avocets got up and started moving towards the other pair and the intruding avocets moved quickly away from them. I was quite a distance from the presumed nest, the pair of avocets in my images and even further away from the intruding avocets.

Pair of American Avocets in the marsh of Bear River MBRPair of American Avocets in the marsh of Bear River MBR – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I wanted to include this photo because it shows the female in the front and the male in the back to highlight the differences in their bills, the bills of female American Avocets are more curved than the bills of the males.

It won’t be long before there will be tiny American Avocet chicks running around in the marshes at the refuge but they have such cryptic plumage as chicks that they can be very difficult to see because they blend right into the habitat. They are far easier to see as adults!

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte April 25, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Another show-stopper Mia. The Avocet reflections are beautiful. What a great pic! Thanks.

  2. Utahbooklover April 24, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    How nice to see the subtle difference between the male and female in this great image with the beautiful reflections!

  3. Anita Cothern Austin April 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Beautiful reflections. Interaction is nice to see.

  4. Patty Chadwick April 24, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Two beautiful images, but the second, with the double reflections, is very, very special !!!! LOVE IT!!!

  5. Bob mcphersonops April 24, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. Reflections so interesting​

  6. Marie Read April 24, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Lovely! I remember them from last May!

  7. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver April 24, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Wow, amazing reflection in this photo. Love these birds. Another morning treat to see them in your photos and to remember our trips west and where we’ve been when we watched American Avocets in the past. The state of Maine has its first Vermilion Flycatcher visitor. Why, how, wherefrom? Unknown.

  8. Mary McAvoy April 24, 2017 at 7:02 am


  9. Roger Burnard April 24, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Very nice Mia, very nice. I especially like the reflections in the second image… ;-)))

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