Marbled godwit (Limosa fedoa)
By Jan Baumgartner
The long, pink and black bill of this shore bird arrives at any destination almost 5 inches before of the rest of its body!
Jokes aside, the godwit’s slightly-upturned saber-like bill is the key to its survival in two very different environments. Floridians know the godwit as a proverbial snow bird, wintering on our favorite suncoast beaches. But this large cinnamon-colored sandpiper leads a double life! The godwit follows an innate GPS map from the Gulf to summer breeding grounds in Montana, the Dakotas, and the Canadian prairies. This opportunistic feeder uses the full length of its bill to probe both surf and turf. On the beach, it munches on hidden marine worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. On the prairie, it binges on burrowing insects and plant tubers. The godwit’s summer home appears to be inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture as it blends seamlessly into its surroundings with form following function, an open floor plan, and lots of natural light. With his feet, the male scrapes a shallow depression in the dirt just deep enough to keep the eggs from rolling away.
Situated in short grass and without overhead cover, this unpretentious nest typifies Wright’s Prairie Style architecture!
Jan Baumgartner’s handmade notecards are available at Sunshine & Sand Hidden Treasures, 6635 Midnight Pass Rd., in Crescent Plaza.