Things I Learned About Marbled Godwits

(Limosa fedoa) South San Diego Bay. San Diego County, California USA 2005-04-15.

Marbled Godwits have a survivor’s story not unlike the Long-Billed Curlew. Both were hunted for meat in the late 19th century and suffered a population crash. Both birds depend on grasslands that are under pressure to be developed for agriculture.

In preparing for this post, I learned there is a small population (subspecies L. f. beringiae) that breed in a corner of southwestern Alaska and migrate to the North American Pacific coast, travelling no further south than central and northern California to winter. The further north, the more likely the Marbled Godwits seen on the Pacific coast, are from this small and threatened population.

When I travelled through Alaska in 2005, I stopped for a few hours in Anchorage. I remember stopping at the side of the Seward Highway, south of the city to observe the vast mudflats west of the highway. Of the thousands of birds on the mudflats, most were Marbled Godwits. Looking back, I now know these must have been L.f. beringiae, as the birds breeding in the northern USA and Canadian prairies (L. f. fedoa) would never come this way.

More Marbled Godwit Images <Here>