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 Solitary Sandpiper, pictured above, in our August 2016 issue.
Most Solitary Sandpipers winter from Mexico through Central America and in much of the northern two-thirds of South America. Individuals or groups containing a few birds occur along the vegetated edges of freshwater lakes and ponds, in marshy fields, and along muddy riverbanks.
Sandpipers breed in muskeg bogs across much of the boreal-forest zone of Canada and Alaska. Solitary is the only North American shorebird that nests regularly in trees, often taking over old nests of Gray Jay, American Robin, or Rusty Blackbird.
By August (right), many individuals have begun migrating south and can be found from southern Canada through Central America. Purple squares in South America in August represent wintering birds that returned early or birds that spent the summer in southerly locations.
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 2016 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.
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