Errant Avocet at The Air Park

Rare Bird Here for Two Weeks

WILMINGTON, OH - Sept. 13, 2007 - Late last month, ABX Air (NASDAQ:ABXA) Environmental Compliance Assistant Eric Davenport found an American Avocet at the Air Park's stormwater treatment plant on Jenkins Road.


Rare American Avocet rests at the Air Park stormwater treatment pond on its way to its winter quarters on the Gulf Coast. (Photo: Bob Powell)

The American Avocet is a rare, long-legged wading bird usually about 18 inches tall. The elegant shorebird is mostly white with boldly patterned black and white wings and long, bright blue legs. Probably the most striking feature of avocets is the long, thin, upturned bill, which they sweep back and forth in mud as they feed. In summer plumage, the head and neck is colored a rich cinnamon-orange color unique among American birds.

"I was sure I had identified the bird correctly," said Davenport, "and I immediately contacted Tanya Carey, ABX Air Environmental Compliance Supervisor." Carey called in Bob Thobaben and Bob Powell, local bird experts, to verify the sighting.

Using careful observations, photographs, and technical references, Thobaben, a government-certified Master Bander, was able to determine that the bird was a female at least one year old. "She probably just fledged a brood of chicks somewhere like Montana or Manitoba," said Thobaben.

Powell said that avocets breed in the western Great Plains and in the intermountain west, then winter along the coast. Most of them migrate to the West Coast, but a small proportion winter on the Gulf Coast and even as far north as North Carolina and Virginia. He believes the bird was headed in that direction. "They are much more common up on Lake Erie. We get them this far away from the lake only every four years or so, and then mostly at Caesar Creek State Park. This is the first one I have seen in Clinton County."


Bob Powell (in vest) and Bob Thaboben observe the Avocet. (Photo: Eric Davenport)

Powell says that vagrant birds often show up at stormwater treatment plants. "The water is usually very rich in nutrients and highly attractive to migrating shorebirds and wintering waterfowl," he said.

Carey said ABX Air was glad to be able to share this unusual find. "We are very conscious of our stewardship responsibilities at ABX Air, from CEO and President Joe Hete right on down, and this gives us a chance to show the community that we are serious about them," she said.

The avocet spent about two weeks at the Air Park and has since moved on.

ABX Air is a Part 121 cargo airline that operates out of Wilmington, Ohio, and 16 hubs throughout the United States. In addition to providing airlift capacity and sort facility staffing to DHL, ABX Air provides charter, maintenance and package handling services to a diverse group of customers. ABX Air is an FAA-certified 145 Repair station. ABX Air is the largest employer in a several-county area in southwestern Ohio.

For more information, contact ABX Air.