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Where and when to look for Baird’s Sandpiper

Baird’s Sandpiper by Dominic Sherony
Baird’s Sandpiper by Dominic Sherony (Creative Commons)

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 Baird’s Sandpiper, pictured above, in our August 2015 issue.

Baird’s Sandpiper

August 2004-14 (left); January 2004-14 (right)
August 2004-14 (left); January 2004-14 (right)

Baird’s Sandpiper has one of the longest annual migrations of any bird. It breeds in the high arctic of North America and Russia and winters from the Andes of Ecuador to Tierra del Fuego, in South America. The maps above show its distribution in August and January from 2004 to 2014. In August, during fall migration, the shorebird is found widely across the lower 48 states. The Great Plains are particularly important for stopover and foraging sites; look for the species in shallow water and mudflats anywhere you see other shorebirds. In fall, adults migrate first, in late July and August. Juvenile migration peaks several weeks later. By January, most Baird’s Sandpipers are in South America, having completed half of an annual migration that can total 9,300 miles (15,000 km). The species is extremely rare in the United States in winter, but birds have been recorded in January in Washington, California, and other states.

See eBird’s real-time distribution map for Baird’s Hummingbird.

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

A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the August 2015 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.

See more maps from “On the Move.”


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