in the foreground seen standing on one leg was drawn at
Sandy Key on May 31, 1832. The godwit like all shorebirds
will rest with a leg pulled up. Records show that the
bird viewed preening in the background was previously
rendered by Audubon while traveling in Louisiana in 1821.
Godwits are similar to Curlews, but their bill is
straight or curved upward slightly. Their bird calls are
also different making them distinguishable from
of what Audubon writes in his Ornithological
Biography, Volume. III, pages 287 to 288 appears
fine bird is found during winter on all the large
muddy flats of the coast of Florida that are
intermixed with beds of raccoon oysters. ... While
feeding, it probes the mud and wet sand, often
plunging its bill to its whole length, in the manner
of the Common snipe and d the Woodcock. It is fond of
the small crabs called fiddlers, many of which it
obtains both by probing the burrows, and running after
them along the edges of the salt meadows and marshes."
. . .
. . Toward the middle,of the day, the separate flocks
come together, assembling on some large sand-bar,
where they remain for hours, trimming their plumage,
after which many of them continue some time
motionless, standing on one leg. . . .
. "On the 31st of May 1832, I saw an immense number of
these birds on an extensive mud-bar bordering one of
the Keys of Florida ( Sandy Key ), about six miles
south of Cape Sable. When I landed with my party, the
whole, amounting to some thousands, collected ....
Four or five guns were fired at once, and the
slaughter was such, that I was quite satisfied with
the number obtained, both for specimens and for food.
... Those which we killed were plump, and afforded
excellent eating. I was much surprised to find these
Godwits so far south, but next morning, when none
where to be seen excepting those wounded birds which
we had not pursued, I concluded that the flock, which
was the largest I had seen, had merely alighted there
for the day."
viewing of "some thousands" of godwits may have been
extraordinary. Today the Godwit rarely frequents the East
and their migration is toward the Gulf of California. The
Godwit nests in the central prairie lands of North
America and winters in Central America. From Audubon's
description, it would seem during Audubon's time the
Godwit population was more extensive and ranged more
extensively along the Gulf Of Mexico and Atlantic