Sunday, July 28, 2019

Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpipers are common migrants along Washington beaches, but this individual was the only one we saw during our trip to Ocean Shores on 20 July 2019. They can be identified by their relatively small size and relatively long, down-curved bills.

Although this species breeding range is restricted to  the tundra of western Alaska and eastern Siberia, Western Sandpipers are abundant. Many winter along our Pacific Coast, but they are also found on the Atlantic Coast and south to Peru and Venezuela. Females migrate farther south than males. Southern birds are larger and longer-winged than northern ones. Northern juveniles are more likely to try to breed in their first summer. Young birds that winter further south are more likely to delay their spring migration and not breed until their second summer (Franks et al. 2014).

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