Mar 162014

Numenius_americanusMarch 16th is Curlew Day.

Curlews are shorebirds with long, slender, down-curved bills and mottled brown plumage. Similar to Swallows Day, this is the day curlews return to the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to start their courtship rituals and nest. The Refuge celebrates this day with tours and special talks.

There are eight types of curlews, the Long-billed Curlew is the species that returns every year.

The Long-billed Curlew displays an elaborate courtship dance during breeding season including fast and looping display flights. A small hollow is lined with various weeds and grasses to make a nest. As with most shorebirds, four eggs are laid. The chicks are precocial when the hatch, meaning they are relatively mature and mobile right away.

Long-billed Curlew Trivia:

  • It is the largest nesting or regularly occurring sandpiper in North America.
  • They exhibits sexual dimorphism, the female has a much longer bill than the male.
  • They are also known as  sicklebirds and candlestick birds.
  • Candlestick Point in San Francisco was named after these birds. Candlestick Park stadium inherited the name. The birds flocked there by the thousands. Their appearance waned in the early 20th century, and by 1950s they remaining birds were hunted. Now, there are none left.

Celebrate with goodies from Zazzle

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photo courtesy of Mike Baird,

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 March 16, 2014  Posted by at 12:00 am March Tagged with:  Add comments

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