Candlestick Birds – Long-billed Curlews

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Long-billed Curlew in a field of CheatgrassLong-billed Curlew in a field of Cheatgrass

I’ve been enjoying seeing Long-billed Curlews for several weeks now in northern Utah. These large shorebirds birds are also called “Candlestick birds” and “Sickle Birds” because of their long bills. When I lived in Florida I saw these birds in a very different type of habit than I do here, in Florida I saw them feeding along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, here in Utah I see them in the grasslands and along the shore of the Great Salt Lake.

Long-billed CurlewLong-billed Curlew

The Cheatgrass that this bird is walking in is an invasive grass and I don’t like it because of that but I do love the colors of the grass at this time of the year, those purple reddish tones can compliment my subjects very nicely.

It shouldn’t be too long before I see tiny balls of fluff following the adults through high grass. It makes it very difficult to photograph the chicks but I’m glad they can hide that easily from predators too.



  1. M. Firpi June 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    I like popular names like “Candlestick birds” and “Sickle Birds”. Some botanists don’t like to use them with plants because of the confusion they can cause. I like them either in plants or birds, because it’s how the general public, or layman understand it without the professional jargon.

  2. Taylor K. June 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    The colors are so pretty! I love everything about these pictures.

  3. kamana June 2, 2013 at 1:56 am

    of all the things in the world to have as a pet, i had a curlew, a baby chick and a turtle as pets when i was little. yes, all at the same time. 🙂

  4. Dave Sparks June 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Fun to see photos of these birds in the Utah environment …. they blend in extremely well and I can imagine that the chicks will be doubly difficult to see.

  5. biobabbler June 1, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I love those creatures. Accustomed to seeing them at the beach (Pacific), I was very surprised to see them (or similar shorebirds species) when I was in the prairie section of Badlands NP. SO far inland and so dry. Delightful and impressive creatures.

    • Mia McPherson June 2, 2013 at 5:58 am

      biobabbler, the first time I saw Curlews in the prairie grasses in Utah it messed my head up because I was so used to seeing them on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, it was like my brain could not register that they were in grasses on the prairie instead of water!

  6. mavourneen s. June 1, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Everytime I go to the Island I never see them…I hear them and oh wait….watch them fly in the sky calling to one another….but I never see where they land. 🙁

    • Mia McPherson June 2, 2013 at 5:57 am

      Mavourneen, I hope, hope, hope you get to see the Curlews and photograph them. You’ll love them!

  7. judy watson June 1, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Because of you I have learned about the Long Billed Curlews. I’ve never seen them before and now I see them all over the island.

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