The name of the Wandering Tattler sounds fanciful and fictional, but it’s actually a fitting title. “Wandering” is no exaggeration. The coastal wintering range of this sandpiper spans the Pacific, from California and Ecuador west to Australia, and just about every archipelago and island in between: Hawaii, Galapagos, Polynesia, Samoa, Fiji, and more. “Tattler” is appropriate, too: When this modest-looking bird takes flight from a wave-washed rock, its loud, ringing trill ensures that everyone will know about it.
In terms of habitat and surroundings, the Wandering Tattler leads a double life. Most birders see it in the non-breeding season, along the coast on rocky shorelines. For breeding, however, it goes to the interior of Alaska and parts of northwestern Canada and extreme eastern Siberia, nesting near streams in the mountains. The first nest was not discovered until 1923, in the area that’s now Denali National Park in central Alaska, and its breeding behavior still has not been studied thoroughly.