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The Unmistakable Ruddy Turnstone

Just as its name says!
© Alan Cherry - flickr quickr View Large

The Ruddy Turnstone stands out among sandpipers. On taking flight, the turnstone flashes a vivid and unmistakable pattern of dark and light striping across its wings and tail. And that comical chatter is one of a kind too. Unlike most sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones favor rocky beaches and jetties rather than tidal sand or mud. They breed in the Arctic all across North America, Europe, and Asia, and winter along the coastlines of all the continents except Antarctica. And about that curious name? Turnstones do indeed use their stout bills to flip over stones, shells, and mats of seaweed, exposing small crustaceans and other food.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote® 
The Unmistakable Ruddy Turnstone
Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Rocky shoreline and calls of Ruddy Turnstones]

Hmm, what birds are those along the shore? Sandpipers, yes, but which ones? Most are small and brown — darn hard to tell apart.

But when you spot the sandpiper named Ruddy Turnstone, you’ll have little doubt. [Ruddy Turnstone chattering calls of a flock and individual]

With its short, bright orange legs and stubby chisel-like bill, the chunky, robin-sized Ruddy Turnstone stands out among sandpipers. On taking flight, the turnstone flashes a vivid and unmistakable pattern of dark and light striping across its wings and tail. And that comical chatter is one of a kind too. [Ruddy Turnstone chattering calls of an individual]

In spring and summer, the feathers of Ruddy Turnstones are bright rust, black, and white — they’re the only truly calico-colored shorebird. Fall and winter finds them a duller brown and white, but they still flourish those vivid stripes in flight. [Ruddy Turnstone chattering calls]

Unlike most sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones favor rocky beaches and jetties rather than tidal sand or mud.

And about that curious name? Turnstones do indeed use their stout bills to flip over stones, shells, and mats of seaweed, exposing small crustaceans and other food.

Today’s show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation. For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.  [Ruddy Turnstone chattering calls]

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of flock of Ruddy Turnstone [3051] recorded by C.A. Sutherland; call of individual Ruddy Turnstone [43115] W.W.H.Gunn.
Waves at rocky shoreline recorded by C. Peterson at Shark Point.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org     November 2012/2015   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#             RUTU-01-2012-11-29    RUTU-01

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