Carl Kurtz is a professional writer, teacher, naturalist, and photographer. He and his wife and partner, Linda, live on a 172-acre family farm in central Iowa that is one of the few prairie seed sources in the Midwest.
Shorebirds come in all sizes, shapes and color styles. The smallest are species like least sandpipers and semipalmated plovers at 6 or 7 inches in size up to the largest, godwits and curlews, varying from 18 to more than 20 inches. Plumages can be mottled with fine streaking or barring, while some species have more striking coloration. Their bills vary from long and straight to short and stubby, some bills curving downward, some upward and most designed for probing in moist soil or in muddy shorelines. The greater yellowlegs featured here are medium in size at about 14 inches. They are currently in mid-continent migration heading for their sub-arctic breeding grounds.