Greater Yellow-legs

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Story and photograph by Horace Brown

In Kentucky, the Greater Yellow-legs is recorded chiefly west of the Cumberland Plateau. An early spring date that they have been seen is Feb. 15 and a late autumn date is Dec. 15.

This bird species breeds across all of the provinces in south Canada and all the way into southern Alaska and rarely into west Alaska. They winter along the west and the east coasts from Rhode Island south throughout all of Florida, south Georgia, all of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Also, all of Texas except the north panhandle, across southern New Mexico and Arizona on down through all of Mexico.

The Greater Yellow-legs is common and widespread in all types of wetlands while running around almost crazily, seemingly in circles trying to catch up with small fish, tadpoles and various crustaceans or aquatic insects. They are 14 inches long with a 28-inch wingspan, and weigh 6 ounces. Their legs are a strikingly bright yellow and they have a bold eye-ring.

The nest is a depression or scrape in the ground on a hammock that is in or near a wet boggy stretch of open tundra or marsh or on a low timbered ridge in muskeg country. The 4 eggs are orange-brown that are heavily and boldly marked with reddish brown

Again this is one of the 314 bird species that is likely to disappear due to climate change, if we are unable to reverse the trend. Try to find a good shorebird watching area somewhere in Kentucky to enjoy this bird species in the great outdoors.


To read more columns about birds by Horace Brown, visit www.SentinelNews.com/recreation. Horace Brown is a civil/sanitary engineer, land surveyor and nature photographer and writer. To contact him or order a Brown’s 2017 hawks and owls calendar, E-mail whbrownpelpls@aol.com, call 502-682-7711 or write 527 Main St., Shelbyville 40065.