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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Black-crowned Night-Herons

The birds were good. The light was better.

 

It's a Marbled Godwit breeding battle

Marbled Godwits are migrant grassland nesters with Minnesota as the eastern edge of their U.S. breeding territory. They are more readily found in North Dakota and north-eastern Montana. The photos were taken in Montana in mid-May. The birds were engaged in a territorial battle that a went on for about 10 minutes. This was mostl any airborne battle with brief quiet periods for, I assume, rest. It was a vigorous fight. Most of the species’ North American territory is in Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, centered in Alberta. Minnesota has had breeders in decades past, in a one-county swath stretching from the beginning of the Minnesota River north to our border with Canada. The presence of grassland is the requirement and problem. Wildlife Management Areas and Waterfowl Production Areas are good places to look for Godwits, particularly in spring migration — late April to late May. Look for ponds and lakes with muddy edges. The birds are gone from the state by late July. I took the photos at Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge, seven miles east of Malta, Montana. The refuge is a superb place for birdwatching and bird photography of waterfowl, wetland, and grassland species, the single best national refuge I have visited for those birds.