Black Skimmers are summer residents of the Jersey shore, breeding in areas protected from beach goers and pets. I usually find them in late summer as they are preparing for their long commute to winter homes along the shores of Central and South America. Skimmers feed by flying near the top of the water with their lower bill partly submerged. An encounter a small fish causes the Skimmer to snap shut its bill, hopefull catching a tasty meal.
According to Cornell University’s All About Birds website, “the remarkable bill of the Black Skimmer sets it apart from all other American birds. The large red and black bill is knife-thin and the lower mandible is longer than the upper.” I watched several Skimmers feeding in the shallow waterways of Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks ago and managed to snap some photos as they skirted along the water’s surface. Their flight is deceptively fast, so tracking them with the camera was a challenge.