Monday, June 15, 2009
The Curlews Are Back
I see them as the surest-of-all-signs of spring. They've actually been back for almost a month now, but this is the first time I have had a chance to go among them.
The Long-Billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) is migratory, spending his winters as far south as Central America. Ours are just starting to stake out their nesting grounds. Once they actually start nesting they will dive bomb an interloper like Stukas, actually knocking your hat off if you're not paying attention.
They're big birds: wingspan a little over two feet, and that bill can be 10" long. Their cry when alarmed (or angry) is a shrill, loud cur-WEE cur-WEE cur-WEE (usually in bursts of three). They spend most of their time on the ground and for the most part fly only when alarmed.
Really nice birds. It's so good to have them back.