October 15, 2014
A short-billed dowitcher goes deep at Heron Pond on the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary in St. Charles County (500 mm; 1/1000; f/5.6; ISO 200 Av). By taking advantage of its lengthy bill, this shorebird is capable of foraging in slightly deeper water. Its feeding style has been described as a “sewing-machine” motion.
I was delighted to catch this individual putting its long bill to use, especially in the image below. My favorite thing about this species is its lovely, curvilinear tail feathers.
Some of you have to be wondering why this bird is called the “short-billed dowitcher.” I suppose it was the obvious choice when consideration was given to its congener, the long-billed dowitcher, on which females often have an even more impressive set of chopsticks.
Truth be told, I’m not positive which of the two species this one is, as they can be very difficult to distinguish, especially without vocalizations. Based on the markings and the angle of the eye to the axis of the bill, I’m going with short-billed until I hear back from an ornithologist! :-)
Thanks for looking,
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