The Canadian Record (Canadian, Tex.), Vol. 118, No. 16, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 17, 2008 Page: 23 of 36
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THE CANADIAN RECORD
THURSDAY 1 "7 APRIL ZOOS
THE LONG-BILLED CURLEW is a sandpiper of outrageous proportions. A breed -
ng bird of the short-grass prai rie, this large shorebird winters in the south on beaches,
mudflats, and wetlands. About 2 feet tall with a wingspan of nearly 3 feet, Long-billed
Curlews have streamlined bodies and a mottled plumage of sunburned tan. In flight, a
wash of cinnamon coats the wings.
Long-billed Curlews call their name, or something like it: clear whistles of cool-ee
cool-ee range from pensive to pure agitation. These earnest fluent birds open their
long beaks to call while foraging and in f light, and during an energetic aerial mating
The Latin name for curlews is Numerous, new moon in ancient Greek, a reference to
the crescent curve in the bill. It is the bill, of course, that is the most spectacular attrib-
ute of the Long-billed Curlew. For not only is it mpossibly thin and crescent-shaped,
but it is longer in relation to the bird than the bill of any other shorebird. It's so long that
the word "long" seems pathetically nadequate. Adjectives like absurd and ridiculous
come to mind.
It does make them easy to identify: any long-legged comma-shaped bird that can
almost touch the ground with its bill just by looking down is probably a Long-billed
Curlew. There are other similar birds with long curved bills, but none of those bills is
nearly so long.
My first thought was that they must have evolved from lazy birds indeed: instead of
bother; :ig to bend over, they grew over time a bill so long that bending was no longer
The chief evolutionary purpose of this bill is to probe in mud or sand for soft-bodied
things like crabs, shrimp, and other burrowing invertebrates. Sometimes a Long-billed
Curlew is seen with its head to the ground, twisting this way and that as it sends its bill
down the twists and turns of some underground burrow.
A curlew wading in shallow water may sink its head completely under the surface
with every probe—as though those round unblinking eyes saw no real difference be-
tween wet and dry.
They do not always feed :n the muck, however, and they are graceful feeders on their
prairie breeding grounds, where these entirely carnivorous birds eat grasshoppers,
locusts, beetles, and earthworms, as well as the eggs and young of other prairie birds.
Precisely how that long thin bill is used to kill something like a grasshopper or a
locust—or even a young bird—remains a mystery to me. There must be more power in
the snap than it would appear. And how does such a bird get the food from the end of the
bill into its mouth? Does it suck food up through the bill like a straw? Or toss it up in the
air and catch t with an open mouth?
According to Birds of North America Online, curlews manipulate small prey items
with "rapid, small opening-and-closing movements of mandibles accompanied by back-
ward jerks of head as bill is gradually raised." Ah! So t jerks it up by degrees! A long
way to go, and a cumbersome process, but one that apparently works for the curlews
Once abundant on the continent, their numbers are declining in some places, increas-
ing in others. Kenneth Seyfert counted 3,000 Long-billed Curlews in Castro County in
1981, and they were once common breeders north of the Canadian River. Preserving
the short-grass prairies will help ensure the future of the Long-billed Curlew—a bird
that truly lives up to its name!
—Thanks to Birds of North America Online
amplight Youth Theatre Co. to present 'The K ig SI
Fifty-eight Lamplight Youth Theatre children, ranging from ages 6-18 will bring "The
King & I" to the stage of the Ordway Aud itorium on the main campus of Amarillo College from
May 9-11. In addition to the 58 actors, the entire crew consists of an additional 12 Lamplight
students who will work backstage to orchestrate set and costume changes as well as technical
aspects. The auditorium is located at Washington and 22nd street. Show times are May 9 & 10
at 7:30 p.m. and May 10 & 11 at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are Adults, $10; College & Seniors, $8;
High School & Under, $5. Tickets are available by calling (806)371-5353. Please no children
under 3 years. #16
IONS CLUB REPORT
by Sherry Timmons
The Canadian Lions Club met April 11 at
the Fire Hall. Gary Minyen led the Pledge
of Allegiance; Sherry Timmons gave the in-
vocation; 2nd VP Joe Dial presided over the
business meeting. The members welcomed
Club Sweetheart, Samantha Hohertz.
Rick Timmons and Steve Mau Id in volun-
teered to co-chair the committee for the an-
nual spring golf tournament.
Dial also presented information from Li -
ons Club International, announcing a new
partnership with Community Anti-Drug
Coalitions of Amer ica. CADCA is a national
non-profit organization whose mission is to
strengthen the capacity of community coali-
tions to create and maintain safe, healthy,
drug-free communities. This organization
represents over 5,000 community coalitions
across the country and currently assists the
U.S. Dept. of State by teaching ant drug
coalition building principles to community-
based organizations in other countries, in-
cluding Peru, El Salvador, Colombia, Mex-
co and Brazil. Both organizations share a
common goal to provide young people with
the skills they need to reject drugs and live
healthy, productive lives.
Members attending were Dawn Dial,
Joe Dial, Les Lovvorn, Steve Mauldin, Gary
Minyen, Charlotte Rollins, Mike Rollins,
Rick Timmons, and Sherry Timmons.
Doris Nash of Wellington, President of the
1 ions Club Eye Bank Board of Directors, will
present a program to the club next Friday.
WALK ACROSS TEXAS
Totals -Week #2
It Is What It Is!
V)h3-t ID oes Your (ptrder)
Looking -A>r loctlly orouoo or
homewzde -Poods -Per a Parsers'
Mlrke-t. Are you Cnteres-ted ir)
becoming t vendor! C-aff Borate
FlrrZr it -A>r
Herbs i) tyso't-s
Fructs i> \Jeqe~bzbles
Jzws i> ZeUies
Honey) Szlszj etc.
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Brown, Laurie Ezzell. The Canadian Record (Canadian, Tex.), Vol. 118, No. 16, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 17, 2008, newspaper, April 17, 2008; Canadian, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth252700/m1/23/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hemphill County Library.