Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 3, 2014: Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher standing on one leg in Stratford. Photo courtesy of Donna Caporaso.

Long-billed Dowitcher standing on one leg in Stratford. Photo courtesy of Donna Caporaso.

Long-billed Dowitcher
Limnodromus scolopaceus

Where to find it: A single Long-billed Dowitcher has been present at the Birdseye Street boat ramp in Stratford for the past two weeks where it has been roosting along the shoreline. For a map, click here; for the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide, click here.

How to find it: Look for a larger-sized sandpiper sitting along the shoreline on the left (western) side of the boat ramp near the water’s edge.

What it looks like: Most common west of the Mississippi, this dowitcher is a stocky, grey-brown sandpiper about 11 inches long with a long bill about half the length of its body. The Long-billed Dowitcher can be distinguished from its close relative the Short-billed Dowitcher, not by the bill length, surprisingly (there is a miniscule difference!), but by its larger size, shorter wings and legs, and mostly by its flight call, a sharp “keek!”

What if the bird isn’t there: This boat ramp often winters American Coot, several duck species, Wilson’s Snipe, and an occasional Iceland Gull, so it is a good spot to put on your birding list! It is also close to our Milford Point Coastal Center and our Stratford Point coastal restoration area (which is generally open when staff is on site, Monday through Friday); the Milford-Stratford area offers some of the best birding in the state.

dowitcherIMG_6168Conservation Status: The Long-billed Dowitcher is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern as the population is stable or increasing.

This week’s Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder was contributed by Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation for Connecticut Audubon Society.

Photos by Donna Caporaso.

To sign up for future Connecticut Bird Finder emails, send your name and town to tandersen@ctaudubon.org

One Response to “Connecticut Audubon Bird Finder for January 3, 2014: Long-billed Dowitcher”

  1. Richard Beyer says:

    I spotted a Long-billed Dowitcher in my yard yesterday by the Niantic boat launch. I do not recall ever seeing one of these birds in all my years living in Connecticut, especially this area. The bird performed what appeared to be some form of bouncing dance. As it bounced it’s weight onto it’s legs in what seemed to be a movement to force insects to the surface. After several bounces it would reach into the soil with it’s long bill and eat it’s prey. I have to say this bird is quite entertaining to watch.

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