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It's April, and godwits are on their way north. They have wintered along the coasts, including the Texas Gulf Coast, and along the Pacific from California to Washington. While most breed in the prairie provinces of Canada, some nest as far north as Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Be sure to watch the video of a Marbled Godwit and its cousin, a Bar-tailed Godwit, at YouTube.
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Marbled Godwits Head North
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
Here we are -- on an April day, standing at the sandy rim of a coastal bay, gazing quietly across a glistening expanse of tide flats. …But wait! What’s that startling sound overhead? [Marbled Godwits calling]
Look up! A large flock of birds. They’re the size of gulls, but a lovely tawny-brown with bright, cinnamon-colored under-wings. [Marbled Godwits calling] The flock’s dropping to the mudflat, canting down in orderly waves, shouldering together in a dense mass. [Marbled Godwits calling]
These handsome birds have a name as unlikely as their calls. They’re known as Marbled Godwits. [Marbled Godwits calling softly in the background]
[Godwits are large members of the sandpiper group.] Marbled Godwits stand a foot and a half tall, on slender, dark legs. Their exquisitely long bills are pink, tipped in black, and just slightly up-curved. Altogether, a stunning bird. [Marbled Godwits calling]
The godwits are on their way north. They’ve wintered along the coasts, including the Texas Gulf Coast, and along the Pacific from California to Washington. While most will breed in the prairie provinces of Canada, some will nest in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
[Marbled Godwits calling]
Today’s show brought to you by Forterra, saving the places that are keystones of a sustainable future in the Pacific Northwest. For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
Call of the provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Marbled Godwit flock calls  recorded by T.G. Sander. Marbled Godwit calls  recorded by C.A. Sutherland. Glaucous-winged Gulls [3350-2] recorded by A.A. Allen.
Ambient waves by Kessler Productions.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2005-2017 Tune In to Nature.org April 2017 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# 2008-04-03-MAGO-01 MAGO-01b