What kind of (swimming) bird is this?
April 20, 2005 8:51 AM   Subscribe

So my wife and I are walking in the park in SW Oregon, and there in the creek is a little starling-lookin' bird on a rock. Brown-black, no markings. The bird jumps in the water, and swims upstream under the water, looking perfectly natural. It came up with a little twig or something, then did it again, and again. It was swimming for distances of 3 to 6 feet. What kind of bird was this?
posted by everichon to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Best answer: It was an American Dipper.
posted by nancoix at 9:03 AM on April 20, 2005

Could it be a Dipper?
posted by routergirl at 9:04 AM on April 20, 2005

Common moorhen? They have quite a song.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:23 AM on April 20, 2005

Herons can swim underwater for quite a while; however, I doubt that's what it was, since your description suggests it was little.
posted by Hankins at 9:33 AM on April 20, 2005

Cool that you noticed this. I'd guess American Dipper. Check out John Muir's account of it. He calls it a water-ouzel.
posted by driveler at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005

The Dipper is also called a Water Ouzel. Was it this guy?
posted by stirfry at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2005

Response by poster: I think it had to be the Dipper. It was very trippy to watch, not knowing that there are such birds. It was like, "Can you do that?".
posted by everichon at 9:48 AM on April 20, 2005

As a brief aside, I was diving (in the Oslo fjord, in Norway) last year and while at a shallow depth of about 10 meters I was startled to see a largish white bird swimming around us. You often see birds dive into the water and then immediate ascend; but this one was swimming around, wings partially unfolded, taking its time, quickly but calmly, for more than 20 seconds. I believe it was a tern; the BBC documentary miniseries The Blue Planet shows a similar species, or perhaps the same species, diving deeply into a school of fish. Fascinating to watch.
posted by gentle at 12:20 PM on April 20, 2005

startled to see a largish white bird swimming around us

I suspect it was a gannet.
posted by piskycritter at 3:14 PM on April 20, 2005

piskycritter, I think you're right. Thanks.
posted by gentle at 8:46 PM on April 20, 2005

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