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Wilson’s Phalaropes spin like tops to eat

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“If you haven’t seen Phalaropes feeding before, it’s a real treat,” writes Terry Sohl, who filmed a large flock of them in Lake County, South Dakota on April 28th, 2013. Watch Wilson’s Phalaropes spin like tops on the water’s surface in the video above.

Why do they do this? From AllAboutBirds.org:

Every year in late summer, migrating Wilson’s Phalaropes put on an amazing show as enormous flocks amass on salty lakes of the West. There they spin round and round in the nutrient-rich waters, creating whirlpools that stir up invertebrates that will fuel their migration to South America.

phalaropes by terry sohlHere’s another example of phalaropes spinning in waters north of Burwell, Nebraska from ornithologist Larkin Powell. Despite the slightly turbulent waters, the phalaropes seem to still create an upwelling of food for themselves:

Next: The Kingfisher hunts for fish on the River Shannon.

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