Sunday, March 23, 2014

Long-billed Curlew

How do you sleep standing on one leg and with an enormous bill? Tucking your bill under your wing is one solution. But the bird in the second photo (the same individual as in the first) slept with an outstretched bill. Even as they walk down the west side of the Rockport beach (in the third photo, a different bird from the first two photos), its a wonder that these Long-billed Curlews keep their balance!
I have blogged about Long-billed Curlews at least once before. Long-billed Curlews are one of only nine species of prairie birds whose breeding range is restricted to the Great Plains. They winter along the coasts of the southern United States and across much of Mexico.

Long-billed Curlew numbers have greatly declined during the past 150 years. Until the mid-1900s, they were over-harvested. Prairies have been turned to pastures, cities, and farmland. Dugger and Dugger (2002) write, "There is no accurate estimate of the current population size, but the species is considered vulnerable throughout its range. Continued loss of grassland breeding habitats is thought to be the greatest threat to population stability."

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