Ruddy Turnstones

Yesterday I mentioned that my least favorite bird is a Ruddy Turnstone, and I feel the need to explain and qualify my statement.

This is a male Ruddy Turnstone, running on a beach in the Galapagos.

The Ruddy Turnstone is my least favorite native bird.  I’m not a fan of invasive species, so technically House Sparrows, feral pigeons/Rock Doves, and European Starlings are lower on the list than Ruddy Turnstones.  That’s the qualifying part of today’s blog. 

Now for the explaining part.  Every birder has a bird that they’ve seen that they really don’t ever feel the need to see again.  For me it is the Ruddy Turnstone.  From time to time I will even get irrationally angry about the turnstones when I see them, usually when I am either not expecting them or hoping for something else.  The reasoning behind this emotional response is flimsy at best, but here it is.

When I went to Grand Cayman, I started without a field guide.  Once I got one, it was still a relatively imcomplete experience; not all the possible birds were pictured.  I snapped a few photos of a shorebird I had never seen, with the intent of identifying it when I got home.  As it has a unique color pattern for a shorebird, the identification turned out to be relatively simple: Ruddy Turnstone.

On a subsequent trip to the Bahamas, I once again saw a shorebird that I couldn’t identify at the time.  I was excited, because I thought it was something new that I didn’t have on my life list.  I snapped a picture and identified it once I got home.  Guess what?  Ruddy Turnstone, this time in winter plumage.

Stupid Ruddy Turnstone, getting my hopes of a new shorebird up and then crushing them.

This is the trend for me with this bird.  Spot a shorebird, get excited because it might be something new and/or interesting, and it’s just another stupid turnstone.  Now that I’ve seen most of the shorebirds native to Texas, the hope-crushing has been reduced; most of the shorebirds I see will be something I’ve seen before.  That hasn’t changed my opinion of the Ruddy Turnstone.  We have history.

When I saw them in the Galapagos, I did notice that my response has changed.  I saw little shorebirds at a distance and my first thought was “I’ll bet they’re stupid Ruddy Turnstones.”  This time, the bird didn’t disappoint; sure enough, there were five turnstones running along the beach.

Stupid Ruddy Turnstones.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 11:54:06

    Lol, I was wondering about the Ruddy Turnstone remark. Now I know. X)


  2. Tammy
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 14:20:16

    Perhaps you can look at it differently or put a positive spin on it… ” What is the bird trying to teach you or what can you learn from the sightings?” 🙂


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