One of the most distinctive shorebirds you’ll ever see in California will be the Long-billed Curlew. It’s the largest North American shorebird, but that’s probably not what will catch your attention. Instead it will be its awesome beak, a perfect example of adaptive evolution, and an essential tool for the bird to dig out the various invertebrates it feeds upon. That bill can span almost a third of its body length. The Long-billed Curlew also has a distinctive migration pattern. Our California birds have been wintering along the coast, and in the Central Valley, where they’ve been benefitting from Audubon California’s work with private landowners (in many cases rice farmers) to improve wetland habitat for birds. We’ve been doing this on our own and in partnership with PRBO Conservation Science and The Nature Conservancy. Starting a few weeks ago and continuing, our California birds have been taking off and heading for a very specific breeding areas in the open grasslands of the Great Basin — northeast California, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Canada. Of course, the Long-billed Curlew isn’t just a California bird, so some of the curlews that arrive at those breeding sites are coming from much farther away — Central America or even farther.