Short-billed Dowitcher

Limnodromus griseus
Short-billed dowitchers use their long bills to search the mud for insects, mollusks, crustaceans and worms/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach
The short-billed dowitcher and the long-billed dowitcher were thought to be the same bird until 1950 when it was determined that they were different specie. At first glance, the two species are similar in appearance, so it is no wonder they were thought to be the same bird. The short-billed is a Fall and Spring migrant in the Refuge and on the Long Beach Peninsula.  It is frequently seen on the sandy beach of Leadbetter State Park. It is also seen on the mudflats of the Ilwaco harbor or resting on a log when the tide is out.  This shorebird is about the length of a foot long sub sandwich.  It has yellowish-green legs, and in spring, its body is colored in various shades of orange-rufous.  The short-billed dowitcher feeds on insects, mollusks, crustaceans, worms and some plant material.

Facts About Short-billed Dowitcher

Eats eggs of king and horseshoe crabs

Uses its bill to probe the mud like a sewing machine in action

Recognized as a species in 1950