Male Long-billed Curlew on Antelope Island

/, Birds, Davis County, Long-billed Curlews, Utah/Male Long-billed Curlew on Antelope Island

Male Long-billed Curlew in a field of grass and wildflowersMale Long-billed Curlew in a field of grass and wildflowers – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Shorebirds are typically found near the shore but several species actually nest in grasslands and prairies, Long-billed Curlews are one of those species. Right now there are Long-billed Curlews on Antelope Island getting ready to find mates, breed, nest and raise their young. I see them in the tall grass weaving their way through the dried mullein stalks and sagebrush searching for prey.

Preening Long-billed Curlew MalePreening Long-billed Curlew Male – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I also see them in areas with short grass, displaying their finest courtship behaviors, fight for breeding right and preening their plumage. They have some interesting moves to preen with their long bills.

Male Curlew callingMale Curlew calling – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

They will also call to announce their presence to the other curlews nearby. This male opened its bill wide while it was calling, so wide that I could see down its throat. The calls of this male went unheeded by the other curlews who might have been nearby and he flew off. Perhaps in search of a mate.

The Long-billed Curlews on Antelope Island are fascinating subjects to photograph and observe or anywhere for that matter.

Life is good.

Mia

 

7 Comments

  1. Linda Laugen April 23, 2016 at 8:02 am

    THANKS, Mia! I simply don’t understand people (my grown kids!) who are not fascinated with this greatest show on earth – in our own back yards, but also afield.

  2. Mia McPherson April 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Hi all, it is believed that their bill is an adaptation because they eat shrimp and crabs that live in deep burrows on their wintering grounds and they also use it on the breeding grounds for burrowing earthworms.

  3. Patty Chadwick April 21, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Funny…befote even seeing any of the other comments, my first reaction was–whatuose does that long, curved bill serve…other than to make life awkward???

  4. Liz Cormack April 21, 2016 at 6:25 am

    I agree with Linda as to what would the long curved bill be for?? It would seem that it would get in the way more often than be useful. I love the colouring & the details of these photos.

  5. Bob McPherson April 21, 2016 at 6:21 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. A very interesting bird.

  6. Linda Laugen April 21, 2016 at 5:35 am

    I have a Q rather than a comment, if you don’t mind. From various exposures to biology since high school, I have learned that usually certain features of creatures have a purpose that suits either them or their environment. OK – so what in the world is the long, curved bill of this bird for – i.e., what does it ‘specially facilitate? Digging into something in the sand or weeds?? I really should Google this or look into something by Roger Tory Peterson! THANKS!

  7. Roger Burnard April 21, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Another winning series Mia… I’ve always wanted to photograph this bird, but have yet to find one when I had my camera gear with me.
    You probably remember Fort DeSoto from your life here in Florida… I plan to visit there again this weekend. Maybe I’ll get lucky, and
    find one there, maybe. I’ve been chasing a white morph of the Reddish Egret, but have yet to find him. Keep up the good work. We
    all enjoy your successes… ;-)))

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