GLOUCESTER, Mass. — AS the spring days lengthen, shorebirds have begun their hemispheric migrations from South America to nesting grounds in Canada’s northern spruce and pine forests and the icy Arctic.
They are among Earth’s longest long-distance fliers, traveling thousands of miles back and forth every year. I have watched them at various stops along their routes: calico-patterned ruddy turnstones flipping tiny rocks and seaweed to find periwinkles or mussels; a solitary whimbrel standing in the marsh grass, its long, curved beak poised to snatch a crab; a golden plover pausing on a mud flat, its plumage glowing in the afternoon sun.
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