I got a report of 2 Whimbrels at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee late morning and made a quick run in there. They were there as reported. Both of them moved about the rock shorelines, the taller prairie grasses and also the mowed areas feeding on insects. I noticed on 2 occasions grasshoppers were taken which looked pretty hard to get down. They smashed them up on the rocks before eating them. Another time one was eating Purple Nightshade berries which did not surprise me as they are known to eat some berries. Cool birds! Some bikers came over the walk bridge at the park and flushed them from the mowed area. They did a large circle flyover of part of the park and headed south. I could not relocate them after that incident. Images were taken on September 2, 2014.
Binomial name: Numenius phaeopus
Category: Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies
Size: 17.5” long, 32” wing span
Weight: 14 Oz.
Habitat: Breeding habitats can be wet or dry in tundra areas, taiga bogs, and sparse scrub lands across northern Canada and Alaska. This species winters in parts of the southern US and South America on coastal shorelines, in tidal flats, shallow marshes, short grasslands, mangroves, beaches and oyster banks.
Diet: In breeding season they prefer marine invertebrates mainly small crabs, sometimes insects and berries and even flowers. They are also known to eat butterflies. In migration their diet can include crabs, beach flies, beetles, spiders, grasshoppers and oysters.
Nesting: As the snow melts on their nesting grounds they establish territories doing aerial displays. The nest is made up of a scrape on the ground or pressed bowl typically lined with leaves, lichens and grasses. Clutch size is usually 2-5 eggs green in color marked with darker greens and browns. Both sexes incubate the eggs for about 25 days. When the downy chicks hatch, they are ready to walk. Adult birds are known to attack humans if they come too close in their nesting area.