Monday, August 31, 2009
September 2009 Bird of the Month Wilson's Phalarope
Twice a Year, in spring and again in late summer the wetlands and shores of the Great Salt Lake are host to the amazing Wilson's Phalarope. This bird migrates 6000 miles twice a year from it's breeding grounds in the North American Prairies to it's wintering grounds in South America. The Phalarope loves brine shrimp and 70% of the worlds population of Wilson's Phalaropes stage on the shores of the Great Salt Lake during their migration to fatten up for their long journey south.
Unlike most species of birds where the male is the more ornate and brightly colored to attract females the female Wilson's Phalarope is more brightly colored, the female Wilson's Phalarope is also polyandrous, and may mate with several males. Once her eggs are laid she takes off leaving the incubation and care of the eggs and young to the male. She may nest with several males in the same season.
Watching Phalaropes feed is very entertaining. they will swim or spin in circles creating a vortex in the water that draws in brine shrimp or other macro-invertebrates then they will feast on the them. August and September is the time to watch for these birds in wetlands like Farmington Bay and in large numbers along the Causeway to Antelope Island