|Family: Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
The largest of the world’s four godwits, the Marbled Godwit breeds in three distinct areas: mid-continental North America, eastern Canada, and the Alaska Peninsula. The largest winter ranges are along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts of the US and Mexico. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge located at Great Salt Lake in Utah (USA), is one of the most popular stopover sites for godwits in the spring and fall.
The English naturalist George Edwards described and illustrated Marbled Godwits in A Natural History of Uncommon Birds in 1750, and named it the Greater American Godwit, without ever seeing one—he based his information on a specimen that had been brought to London by James Isham, who collected it on a Hudson Bay expedition. Linnaeus referred to George Edwards’s work when he assigned it the scientific name Scolopax fedoa.
I saw my first Marbled Godwits in September 1978, also at Goose Pond. Since then, I’ve seen them many times in many places in Minnesota, California, Texas, Colorado, and Kansas. This is by far the easiest godwit for most American birders to photograph.