Short-billed Dowitcher

Bird fishing in water.

Thecaurinusrace of Short-billed Dowitcher breeds in south coastal Alaska and the base of the Aleutian chain. They are nearly annual in the Pribilofs in spring, likely occurring as spring overshoots. A dowitcher found on the Pribilofs in spring is likely to be this species, but to ensure that the bird is not a Long-billed, look for a white undertail, lack of white tips to the scapular feathers, and less distinctly barred flanks. The most reliable way to separate the two species is to hear their call notes. The call of Short-billed Dowitcher is reminiscent of a Yellowlegs (tu tu tu), whereas the Long-billed dowitcher gives sharpkeekcalls. Dowitchers should be looked for in any of our freshwater lakes with shallow muddy or sandy margins. Good spots over the last few years include Pumphouse Lake, the Tonki Wetlands and Lake Dune.