Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Hudsonian Godwit - Limosa haemastica
SCOLOPACIDAE Members:
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General Comments The Hudsonian Godwit has an unusual migration pattern. It migrates from its central and southern South America wintering grounds northward through the middle of the United States to its breeding grounds along the taiga/tundra ecotone; however, fall migration carries it southeastward over the eastern United States and the western Atlantic, most of its flight being over the ocean. Thus, it is casual to nearly accidental in North Carolina in spring, and regular though scarce in fall. Unless migrating godwits meet severe storms, they pass over inland portions, as there are just a few such far inland records. Birders need to visit the coast, primarily from Cape Hatteras northward, in the fall to have a chance to see this scarce species. Hudsonians favors shallow pools and impoundments along the coast, preferably fresh to brackish; it typically shuns salt water. They are usually found mixed with other large species of shorebirds, such as Marbled Godwits, dowitchers, yellowlegs, and Willets.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
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Coastal Plain Transient. Casual in spring, at Bodie/Pea Islands only; uncommon in fall at Bodie/Pea Islands; rare to uncommon in the Cape Hatteras area, and very rare farther north or south along the coast, in fall. Mid-May to late May (only 3 records); and early Aug to mid-Nov. Single reports of one at Pea Island on 30 Dec 1980, and one at Pea Island on 27 Feb 1971, might be correct (seen by experienced birders), though it is not known if Black-tailed Godwit was ruled out; there is a winter record of the latter, documented by photos, from the coast in 1979-80. In the Tidewater zone, very rare in fall, mainly at Lake Mattamuskeet; farther inland, casual in fall, with three records, two from the Goldsboro area and one from Greenville. Peak counts: 16, Cape Hatteras, 29 Aug 1998; 15, resting on the ocean off Oregon Inlet, 25 Aug 1990; 15 at Rodanthe (Dare), 8 Sep 2009.
Piedmont Casual fall transient (only in the eastern portion), with three records: 1, Falls Lake, 21-23 Aug 1999; 2, Falls Lake, 11-15 Sep 1988; and 1 (photographed), Lake Wheeler (Wake), 27 Aug 2011*.
Mountains Accidental fall transient; one record -- 3 at Hooper Lane (Henderson), 8 Sep 2004* (after Tropical Storm Frances) [Chat 69:49 link].
Finding Tips Look for them in Sep and Oct, especially after periods of strong NE winds. North Pond at Pea Island is the best spot to see them. A few are also seen at Bodie Island each fall; Cape Hatteras Point and Portsmouth Island have also had multiple records, though the latter site is reachable only by boat.
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Attribution LeGrand[2015-06-14], LeGrand[2012-05-27], LeGrand[2012-05-13]
NC Map
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NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

View NatureServe distribution maps for Limosa haemastica