Marbled Godwit in a Florida lagoon
Marbled Godwits are large shorebirds that winter along the coast lines of the Gulf of Mexico, Baja Peninsula as well as the Atlantic and Pacific coasts but they breed in grasslands and grassy marshes of the Great Plains both in Canada and the U.S. including some areas of Alaska.
Degradation of habitat on both wintering and breeding ground is a serious threat to Marbled Godwits. On BNA (Birds of North America Online) they state:
Worldwide, grasslands most imperiled ecosystem. Huge decrease in historic grasslands in North America: <1% intact in some areas (Sampson and Knopf 1996).
Less than one percent of grasslands in North America? Wow. Agriculture is a threat as are the permanent losses of habitat from oil and gas pipeline routes that are replanted with non-native grasses that are taller than what is suitable for Marbled Godwits to use. And those persons who think that the Keystone XL Pipeline is a good idea are dreaming because the pipeline would go through what is left of the habitat for these amazing shorebirds.
Let’s be real, those pipelines are going to permanently damage habitat for far more birds and animals than just the Godwits. They will say the pipeline is going to be safe but how many times have we heard that to see damage wrought later and those companies sit there and don’t want to take blame? Exxon Valdez. DDT. Deepwater Horizon. The list goes on and on.
I hope that in 100 years Marbled Godwits will still be on this planet and future generations won’t know them only from images like mine and skins in a museum.