Birds of Quivira – Long-billed Curlew

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

A bird of the west, the Long-billed Curlew was quite a treat for Steve and I and a rare bird to be found at Quivira NWR.  Imagine our surprise and pleasure at finding two!

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

As usual, habitat destruction via modern agriculture and livestock has severely diminished the numbers of this species.  Will we ever again see the numbers that Audubon once observed?  In describing the flocks of thousands he was able to observe, Audubon in The Birds of America wrote the following:

“They flew directly towards their place of rest, called the Bird Banks, and were seen to alight without performing any of the evolutions which they exhibit when at their feeding places, for they had not been disturbed that season.  But when we followed them to the Bird Banks, which were sandy islands of small extent, the moment they saw us the congregating flocks, probably amounting to several thousand individuals all standing close together, rose at once, performed a few evolutions in perfect silence, and realighted as if one accord on the extreme margins of the sandbank close to tremendous breakers.  It was now dark, and we left the place, although some flocks were still arriving.”

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

-OZB

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