SCAV­ENGER

Bird Watching (UK) - - Turnstone -

flock-mates were highly ag­gres­sive to them, when pre­vi­ously re­la­tions had been am­i­ca­ble. This shows that Turn­stones recog­nise each other in­di­vid­u­ally. Their plumage dif­fer­ences are, in fact, ob­serv­able in the field. Take a close look at your next Turn­stones and see whether you can tell the in­di­vid­u­als apart. The dif­fer­ences are ap­par­ently most ob­vi­ous on the head and face. It would be very in­ter­est­ing to know whether birds such as Knots, which touch-feed on mud­flats in groups of thou­sands, can also recog­nise each other in­di­vid­u­ally. The dif­fer­ences be­tween them are much sub­tler to us than the dis­tinc­tions be­tween Turn­stones. Any­how, all this casts an in­ter­est­ing light on any group of feed­ing Turn­stones that you see. They are in­di­vid­u­als, long-term col­leagues and, as in gath­er­ings of col­leagues ev­ery­where, in almost any cir­cum­stances, from peo­ple in work­places to tits on a feeder, Turn­stones have hi­er­ar­chies. Some are more dom­i­nant, oth­ers are Even in win­ter, Turn­stones are strik­ingly masked birds In­di­vid­ual Turn­stones have fixed places at roost ar­eas and tend to hang out with the same group of ‘col­leagues’ for months Turn­stones will eat most things, liv­ing or dead

PRETTY WADER All Canada Pho­tos / Alamy WE ARE FAM­ILY Sabena Jane Black­bird / Alamy Andy Sands

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