Friday’s Feathered Friends- American Dippers

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

I’ve been rather slow at telling you about several new to me birds that I’ve seen this year. There have been 5 so far this year.

The first one I saw was back in February. Yeah, I know. I love making the images, going out hiking, birding, etc., but processing the images and writing…not so much.

So, this bird I saw in February really made me do my happy dance… jumping for joy happy dance because I tried to find this bird several times over a couple of years while I lived in San Jose sans success. Just less than two years after moving to Nevada I found not one but a pair!! Here without further ado is the American Dipper.

They were gathering nesting material under an overpass and flying into a hole under it. Lighting conditions weren’t great. They were in the shadow of the bridge making it hard to get a good image of them. I opened up the shadows in post editing.


This next image shows the white eyelid they have that you only see when they blink.

Finally, I got lucky and one flew out into the sunlight!

Fun Facts: Gleaned from

  • The American Dipper chooses a nest site, invariably along a stream, that provides security from floods and predators. Availability of suitable nest sites appears to limit its populations.
  • To be able to survive in cold waters during the winter, the American Dipper has a low metabolic rate, extra oxygen-carrying capacity in its blood, and a thick coat of feathers.
  • Unlike most other songbirds, but similarly to ducks, the American Dipper molts its wing and tail feathers all at once in the late summer. The bird is flightless during this time.
  • The oldest American Dipper was over 8 years old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in South Dakota.

The American Dipper is North America’s only truly aquatic songbird. I’m so happy I finally saw them!

I hope you all have a great week-end!

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.4.1

more to come…

38 thoughts on “Friday’s Feathered Friends- American Dippers

  1. After such an introduction, Deborah, I almost did a happy dance.🙂 Photo capture is still sharp. The sunlight does make a difference. ❤️I was not aware aquatic songbirds are rare.

    1. Windows 10 isn’t so bad. I got used to it pretty quick which surprised me, but Windows 7 worked so well, and I was so comfy with it that I loathed to let it go!

      I’m now feeling the same way about windows 10!! I’m going to hate to give up for the next version. I hope you don’t have many issues with it and have great success with you newest blog! I’m going to go find it and follow you there.

      1. Thank you for all your good wishes, Deborah. My son said immediately, you better find the best anti-virus program! What do you you have? You can email me ( if you like about that. Jeshie.

  2. Thanks Deborah for sharing this interesting lifer with us, a bird I am not familiar with. It is always exciting to have a first sighting in the wild and add to one’s lifer list.

  3. I can only imagine how it must feel to find something you’ve hoped to find for so long. I’ve never heard of a Dipper, but it’s a cute fluff of a thing. I like it. Your photos are wonderful, and I appreciate the description of the process you went through. Congratulations!

  4. What a sweetie, Deborah. Congrats on the sighting. Nictitating eyelid on birds is fascinating. Next time to have a chance to photograph white ibis, it is easy to catch it and is quite striking over their baby blues. 👍🏻

      1. Oh yeah. Along the east coast they are all over the place. I call them beach chickens because they are everywhere. Watching them is cool. They are very group oriented. The rose spoon billed ibis is more tricky to spot. 👍🏻

  5. Two posts in one week=two reasons to rejoice. How exciting to spot a lifer, Deborah!! I know all about trying to get things out of the shade (my recent photo of the owl.) Editing can be such a blessing even though it can also be so deceptive. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

  6. Congratulations Deborah! A white eyelid when they blink? How cool is that. (Need to find me an eyedoctor who can fix that for me. Don’t ask me why. It’s just mega neat)) Is the bird called Dipper because it dips into water?

  7. Woot woot! 💃 Congratulations, Deborah! Great shots!! I’ve had the same experience, with seeing a bird unexpectedly far from home when I’ve chased it at home many times without success. Good for you! Can’t wait to see what other four you’ve gotten…. 😊

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