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Ruddy Turnstone

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Ruddy Turnstone (winter plumage)

By: Pat Coate

While cleaning up some of my files I came across these photos of a Ruddy Turnstone I’d taken in the fall in Myrtle Beach. Though there are occasional sightings of these birds in Western New York during migration, I had never seen one so it was exciting to find this one along the beach.

These shorebirds get their name because they will often search for food by turning over stones to see what delectables may be hiding underneath. They are evidently not picky eaters and will eat pretty much whatever they find under the stones, or under seaweed, sticks and other debris.

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Ruddy Turnstone with Herring Gull (2nd winter)

Per the Peterson field guide, Ruddy Turnstones are 8-10” tall, while Herring Gulls are 23-26” tall. The size difference is quite evident in the pictures. The color of the legs in the picture above helped with the IDs – Ruddy Turnstones have bright orange legs. Herring Gulls have pinkish legs and not yellow like the Ring-Billed Gull. Hope I got it right!

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Ruddy Turnstone (winter plumage)

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Ruddy Turnstone with Herring Gull (2nd winter)

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One response

  1. I’ve never seen one. Didn’t realize they are so small.

    11 March 2012 at 7:36 pm

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