A Black Skimmer in flight at Salt Works.

Hello everyone! Thanks for coming back to another round of Janne’s story time. As you can tell by my title, you all are going to hear about the biggest chicks! Who are these behemoths, I speak of? (They aren’t the biggest chicks in the world, that title goes to the ostrich. But, they are the biggest chicks that I have the pleasure of working with out in the field). It’s none other than the Black Skimmer. Famously known for their longer lower mandible that they use to skim the surface of the water for food, they breed and nest in the Salt Works portion of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.


How big are these chicks? Well, the field scale that we use to weigh other species of chicks sometimes comes up with an error message because the chicks are over the scales limit of 320 grams. As with all of the other chicks that we monitor, the Black Skimmer chicks are measured (right wing chord and weight), banded, and flagged. The best thing about these big chicks is that they have bigger legs, perfect for a beginning bander like myself to get some experience. Banding attaches a metal band to a bird with a unique set of number that allows you to identify individuals, it also takes a fair amount of hand-eye coordination. The featured photo shows one of the Black Skimmer Chicks I banded. Hopefully, I can continue to hone my banding skills as I progress through my biologist career.


Well that’s all I have for this adventure! On to the next!

– Janne

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