[birding] Ankey NWR Saturday - Hopping Greater Yellowlegs & More...

Jon oregon5949 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 9 19:27:47 PST 2013


About noon Today (Saturday), 23 Greater White-fronted Geese on the
west bank of Eagle Marsh.

Also a Golden Eagle sub adult soaring near Pintail Marsh where there
was a mix of Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Green Wing Teal, & a
nice flock of 25 Dunlin came in while we were there.

The group had several excellent looks at a Rough-legged Hawk, down
nearby in a field & later in a 30-foot roadside tree.  This was on
Ankeny Road near the first large field on the north side, west of the
freeway.

But at Pintail Marsh, there was also something quite unusual: a
one-legged Greater Yellow Legs.  I saw no hint of a second leg.  As I
watched it in my scope, it hopped, then continued to stand in place
without moving.  It was as if it wanted a slight change in perspective
for protection.  It was not feeding, more like it was skulking in
plain view.

I wondered how likely it was to see a one-legged wading bird.  I had a
one-legged Scrub Jay ("Peggy") visit my backyard for a couple of
years.  But an urban life can be tough on birds.  I asked a veteran on
the trip and we discussed it.  Here is the logic:

We've all seen birds resting on one leg.  We surmised that it was more
likely a 2-legged bird, resting on one.  Then it wanted to move a step
forward on the muddy shoreline.  So it was more efficient to hop twice
on one leg than lower it's warm foot, take a step or two, then pull it
back up.

That makes sense in terms of efficiency, but it raises what seems to
be a rather odd question:  Has anyone else seen a wading bird, hop on
one leg?

Jon Hazen
NE Salem



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