Friday, September 17, 2021

Long-Billed Curlew

The long-billed curlew is bizarrely cool. Its bill is one of the longest for a shorebird and has a distinctive downward curve that ends in a point, looking more like a shoot coming off a limb than a bill on a bird. It uses it to probe in holes and surgically insert it into mud to pinch out crabs and other delectable tidbits. 

But what is amazing is I was watching one the other day in San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff and was admiring the tannish body with washed cinnamon colored sides. Then a shock as I finally noticed the long bill. The bill is so long and so thin that it can actually be quite difficult to see. 

I saw my first long-billed curlew near the Salton Sea in February of this year. Many of them were walking through green fields feeding on something, I know not what, but they kept their heads down and fed and fed. I didn't get a very good look at them. 
At San Elijo Lagoon I got much closer and enjoyed watching them continually probe with that bill. Beautiful, beautiful. 

1 comment:

  1. Can you imagine walking around with a beak almost the length of your body? How awkward would that be? How, for example, does this bird build a nest? It must lay eggs on the ground or in another bird's nest.