Short-billed Dowitcher

Basic Description

The Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) is a medium-sized shorebird that breeds in Alaska and Canada. These birds have short, straight bills that are relatively thick at the base and taper towards the tip. They have a mottled brownish-grey plumage with reddish-brown underparts during breeding season.

Where To Find This Bird

During migration, Short-billed Dowitchers can be found on both coasts of North America from Alaska to Florida. In winter, they migrate even further south to Central and South America.

Habitat

Short-billed Dowitchers breed in wet tundra areas and muskeg swamps in the Arctic. During migration, these birds can be found along mudflats, sandy beaches, marshes, ponds or flooded fields.

Food

These shorebirds mainly feed on crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp along with insects like flies and beetles. They use their long bills to probe deep into mud flats for hidden prey items.

Cool Facts

– The Short-billed Dowitcher has one of the longest migrations routes among North American shorebirds.
– Their bills are highly sensitive enabling them to detect vibrations made by buried prey similar to how we use metal detectors.
– Flocks of dowitchers often fly together in tight formations known as “whirlies” while making high-pitched calls.
– These birds have been observed using a unique feeding method where they will spin around rapidly while probing their bill into shallow water or mudflats creating a vortex which helps bring food closer to the surface.

In conclusion, this fascinating bird is an incredible survivor despite facing several challenges including habitat loss due to human activities such as oil drilling near its breeding grounds. But with conservation measures in place, we can help preserve these amazing creatures for generations to come.