WHIMBREL – (Numenius phaeopus)
This is a shore bird with a downward curved bill, a specialization for digging crustaceans in the sand or the mud on shores. They will also eat berries and insects. ‘Numenius’ comes from the Greek and means ‘new moon’, referring to the bill shape. It is part of the curlew family of birds, which all have this type of bill.
The whimbrel is widespread but is losing habitat. It breeds in the sub-Arctic, and will be seen on PEI beaches during their migrating season. It winters along the coastal areas of south east USA and South America.
During its migration south, one female got caught in tropical storm Erica for 12 hours. Her trek was track thanks to a tracking device. The whimbrel is a rather large bird with a wingspan of around 80 cm (30 in.) and long legs, a long neck and a generally mottled brown and white plumage. The head has horizontal white and brown bands.