These birds nest in northern arctic tundra and often winter on open ocean, and may even forage for parasites on the backs of whales. Phalaropes are also notable for their reversal of typical sex roles: colorful females lead the courtship while smaller males incubate eggs and care for young.
"Nature provides exceptions to every rule. She sends women to battle, and sets Hercules spinning; she enables women to bear immense burdens, cold, and frost; she enables the man, who feels maternal love, to nourish his infant like a mother... Let us be wise and not impede the soul. Let it take what form it will, and let us not bind it to the past to man or woman, black or white. Jove sprang from Rhea, Pallas from Jove. So let it be." ~ Margaret Fuller, "The Great Lawsuit", The Dial, July 1843.