Greater Yellowlegs

Pond Visitors
Every year in the spring and fall, our ponds are visited by a very interesting mix of bird species as they migrate north or south depending on the season, with some staying as summer residents.
One species that comes in the spring and hangs around is the two species of yellowlegs, greater and lesser. The image this week is of the two pairs of Greater Yellowlegs who’ve been in our ponds all summer, and who may have even bred nearby as they breed throughout the Province in boggy sloughs with small wooded islands and coniferous forests with wet clearings – like our ponds have.
The cheeky chirp (The greater yellowlegs has a loud and clear call, often uttered in a three- or four-note sequence - “kyew kyew kyew,” according to my bird app) is a wonderful and distinctive sound, one which takes me mentally to the marshes I know and love every time. In Nova Scotia they are a common sight and a most interesting bird to watch as they parade around the marsh feeding.
Yellowlegs numbers have rebounded over the last few decades. The species were both hunted heavily during the market hunting days in the first half of the 20th century, and many old-timers still have “peep” decoys, silhouette decoys made to look just like these four Yellowlegs in our marsh. Thankfully, the birds as a species survived as the marsh today would be a much less cheery spot without our Yellowleg visitors. Organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada and Trout Unlimited Canada both concern themselves with the preservation of habitat that the Yellowlegs find to their liking. We owe the visionaries who founded those two organizations, and other environmental charities, much as it is their collective forward thinking that preserved many species like the Yellowlegs.

Blog Feb 4