Want to keep your mating and child-rearing habits private, screened from prying eyes? The Greater Yellowlegs knows how. It mates and nests in the most mosquito-infested marshes of the northern Canadian summer. As a result, according to the Cornell bird lab website,
Despite its familiarity and widespread range, its tendency to nest in buggy bogs in the North American boreal forests make it one of the least-studied shorebirds on the continent.https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Greater_Yellowlegs/
The mosquitoes in its breeding range not only provide it with privacy, they offer nutrition; the bird and its young rely heavily on their larvae for food. This bird is en route between those northern marshes and similar marshes on the southern coast of the U.S. and points south where it spends the winters. At this time of year, my guess is that it’s headed back north. As a visitor here in a region where bugs are scarce — too scarce — it joins other shorebirds in scouring the mudflats for little bits of marine protein. At first sight, the bird looked similar to the familiar Willet, but those bright amber legs gave it away.