January 07, 2023
By Chelsea Reed
Whether they are year-round residents or occasional “snow birds,” the wonderful world of waterfowl is fascinating and fun. As one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the country, the Outer Banks is home to plenty of feathered friends! Here are fun facts about them you might not have known before.
Did you know that the Ibis can breathe when its beak is buried in the sand and mud? That’s because its nostrils are located at the base of the beak, well above the wet, sticky residue. These graceful water birds live in the Outer Banks and all over the world, except in the South Pacific.
Those stately, frayed feathers on a Great Blue Heron’s chest aren’t just for show. The bird uses it to wipe its dirty beak! Whenever it preens or hunts for fish, the feathers’ frayed ends and powdery coating help this water bird keep up with its dashing looks. No wonder it’s photogenic.
It is believed the Herring Gull loves to eat Herring fish the most and that is how it got its name. This common gull is easily seen in the Outer Banks. It is able to survive drinking seawater by excreting extra salt from its glands.
Mergansers are the racing fanatics in the world of waterfowl. They’re the fastest duck flyers with speeds up to 80 mph! In the Outer Banks, Red-Breasted Mergansers are wintertime residents from November to April. They can be spotted by their signature ruffled feathers on the back of their heads.
A Black Skimmer would make a great superhero in a comic book. Why? That’s because it has received so many interesting nicknames in American history. Seadog, Scissor-Bill, Stormgull, and Razorbill are just a few. Rolls nice off the tongue, doesn’t it? Razorbill to the rescue!
If you’ve visited the Outer Banks, you’re probably familiar with the Laughing Gull’s jolly greeting and its dapper head. But if you see a similar gull on a lake somewhere in the U.S. Midwest or Southwest, surprise! That’s not a Laughing Gull. That’s its close inland cousin, the Franklin’s Gull. How can you tell? The Franklin’s Gull has a rosier chest, while the Laughing Gull does not.
Discover even more feathered fun with Seaside Art Gallery’s extensive collection of animals and wildlife. They even have an Animals in Art Show each year. Find your favorite piece right here online, or call the Gallery staff to place an order at your convenience.
Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes winning content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina. She might not be building sandcastles or swashbuckling with pirates these days, but the Outer Banks beaches continue to keep her young at heart.
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