Mt. Rainier water ouzel (dipper)
American dipper [Cinclus mexicanus].
July 21, 2008 Chinook Creek. Mt. Rainier National Park.
We call them "water ouzels" here in the Northwest but the name "dipper" is apt as well. These birds are constantly bobbing up and down (or dipping up and down if you please) as they hop from rock to rock in a stream and swim to catch underwater larvae and small fish. They are a joy to watch.
They are a member of the endearing wren family. An oil they produce may help them stay warm and waterproof as they spend so much time in water that was hours ago, snow.
One of the little known things about the water ouzel is that they sing their wren song at night. So if you hear an unusual sound at night (which most of us do), and you're camped near a stream....it just might be one of these mighty little "river wrens".
My friend, but now passed away writer, Irving Petite - - wrote often and affectionately about these little birds. I always think of Irving when I see them.