Water Ouzel

American Dipper

American Dipper

Water ouzel is another name for the American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) . This completely slate grey bird is a year-round resident, although it will move to unfrozen water during the winter. It has a low metabolic rate, a thick coat of feathers and the blood has enhanced oxygen carrying capacity, which helps this water bird survive harsh weather.

I was surprised to see this water ouzel foraging aquatic insects and larvae along the shore of Medicine Lake (Siskiyou County CA). Ouzels live along rushing streams, particularly those with rocky bottoms. Medicine Lake is a volcanic caldera with no running water nearby.

It is always interesting how each hike we take seems to bring some unexpected surprise.


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