Down at our local beach the other morning, these godwits were pecking in the soft shore mud. They look similar to sandpipers, but the speckled feathers and the slightly upward curve of the extra long bill say “godwit.”
The long bills are designed to probe the mud and sand for worms, molluscs, and all sorts of aquatic life.
There are several subspecies of godwits. I think these are marbled godwits. I’m not a bird expert, so if anyone can provide more info, I’m happy to hear it.
There is nothing religious about the name “godwit.” Supposedly, the bird was named for the sound it makes.
Did you know that godwits can sleep standing up?
They tuck their head behind the shoulder and stand on one leg and have a little nap. Sometimes I feel tired enough to sleep standing up. I understand resting my head, but standing on one leg? That’s asking for trouble.
There are many more kinds of shorebirds that look like these. It is a whole science in itself to learn to identify them. I heard one of the godwits talking:
I love to dabble on the beach,
Poke at worms within my reach,
A tiny shrimp, a mini clam.
I am a godwit, yes I am.
I stand on one leg for a nap,
I tell my friends, “Give me a tap.”
I’ll rest my head upon my shoulder.
Being with friends will make me bolder.
Then off we go to wade some more
All along the briny shore.
It’s a right fine restaurant,
Serving all the food I want.
Do come see me on the beach,
Don’t mind if I keep out of reach.
It’s safer for me keeping clear,
But visiting will bring us cheer.