In “On the Move,” our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Sanderling, pictured above, in our August 2014 issue.
These maps show where eBird users reported Sanderling in August and January from 2003 to 2013. The pale gray and white sandpiper breeds in high arctic Canada and Greenland; it moves south in August, funneling through much of North America. The migration is concentrated through the Great Plains and Midwest and along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Look for it, typically in small numbers, on pebbly shores of lakes and ponds across the central states and particularly along the shores of the Great Lakes. By January, it’s found almost exclusively on ocean beaches on the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts of the U.S. and south along ocean beaches in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Purple squares away from the coasts represent very rare winter records.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the August 2014 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.