Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Dipper’s surprise

Seward, Alaska

The AMERICAN DIPPER won the “Most Interesting Bird” award today. While this species is a year-round resident, they are always fun to watch. Despite chilly temperatures and a brisk north wind, there he was, wading in the remaining open water of a stream, hunting for macroinvertebrates with his head fully submerged, oblivious to the cold water, ice, and snow.

I happened to photograph him blinking, twice. Unlike most birds, the Dipper’s eyelid is a brilliant white, and according to Sibley, is feathered. For a rather plain little gray bird, this flashy eyelid is a rather bold fashion statement.

David Sibley wrote an article on “The white eyelid of American Dipper”
<> He noted that this is a real eyelid, not a nictitating membrane, and that its function is not understood by humans. He suggested that we take a few months to study Dippers and try to find out.

Sounds like a good idea, but maybe when the wind stops and it warms up a bit.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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