Guide to Boreal Birds
Willets look quite nondescript on the ground and superficially resemble yellowlegs, but once in flight or even with wings spread out, they are distinguished by their striking black-and-white color pattern. They separate when feeding but remain in loose contact. If one bird takes flight, all the others will join it; the birds usually fly together, calling back and forth, before dropping down farther along the beach.
15" (38 cm). A large shorebird, gray-brown, with a long straight bill. Best identified in flight by its flashy black and white wing pattern. Gray legs and thicker bill distinguish it from Greater Yellowlegs.
A loud ringing pill-will-willet and a quieter kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk.
4 olive-buff eggs, spotted with brown, in a nest lined with weeds or bits of shell placed in a depression on open ground or in a grass clump.
Coastal beaches, freshwater and salt marshes, lakeshores, and wet prairies.
Breeds from central Canada to northeastern California and Nevada; also along Atlantic and Gulf coasts south from Nova Scotia. Winters along coasts from Oregon and Carolinas southward.