Dowitchers are a group of wading shorebirds found in the Americas and Eurasia. There are two species of dowitchers: the short-billed and the long-billed dowitchers. Both species have long, straight bills that are used to probe deep into the mud for food. Dowitchers are known for their unique feeding behavior where they rapidly probe the mud with their bills to capture prey.
Dowitchers are migratory birds and can be found in a variety of habitats including mudflats, estuaries, and salt marshes. During migration, they form large flocks and can often be heard making a distinctive “keek-keek-keek” call as they fly overhead.
The breeding range of dowitchers varies between the two species. Short-billed dowitchers breed in the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska, while long-billed dowitchers breed in the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada. Both species nest on the ground and lay 3-4 eggs per clutch. After hatching, the chicks are precocial, meaning they are able to leave the nest and follow their parents around shortly after hatching.
Overall, dowitchers are fascinating birds with unique feeding behaviors and distinctive calls. They play an important role in their ecosystems as both predators and prey and are a joy to observe in the wild.