One of only four dippers in the world, the American Dipper is one of nature’s anomalies. The dipper is a land bird that spends its life in, on and under water. The swimming abilities of the dipper are excellent but it also propels itself under water using its wings, so in effect “flying through the water”. It has the ability to catch surface insects, but spends most of its time walking on stream beds catching small fish, snails and worms.This bird can swim up to 20 feet below the surface to walk on a river bottom in search of food. The feathers are water proofed by enlarged oil glands and has a down undercoating to dry and warm.
The American Dipper is a chunky and short tailed sooty gray bird with a dark bill. It often nests under bridges, on a rocky ledge overlooking water and sometimes even behind waterfalls. The nest is a domed shaped mass of fine grass and moss. The nest has an entrance hole which leads to an inner bowl of soft grass. 3 to 6 eggs are usually laid with an incubation period of 15 to 17 days. The young leave the nest between 3 and 4 weeks.