Friday, June 14, 2013

Solitary Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpipers enjoy their own company.

It’s how they got their name.  Rarely seen in the company of other shorebirds, they prefer to be alone.  They are not known to migrate together nor form substantial flocks.  They’re just loners.

                                                                                           I found this one, alone, probing a puddle for invertebrates in Mequon, Wisconsin. He was having good luck finding delicacies in the ankle deep water.

Patient and plodding, he was in no hurry to go anyplace else.  Walking slowly and stopping often to probe for food, he wasn't concerned with me only fifty-feet away either. He kept right on searching.

Relatively little is written about the Solitary Sandpiper because they’re solitary.  It’s difficult to find and study one solitary bird, compared to an entire flock of a species.  One interesting discovery relates to their peculiar nesting habit.  Instead of building a nest every year, they use an old abandoned nest…likely a blackbird, jay or robin nest from the prior year.   The female doesn’t add any new material and the male doesn’t bring any either.  She rearranges the existing material to her liking and lays her eggs wherever the nest is found.  They don’t feed their young either.  The young jump from the treetop nest to feed themselves soon after hatching.

Camouflaged from above by a spotted back, if threatened, he'd escape by flying straight up.  He didn't do that today…no need...he wasn't frightened by me.  When I left him, he just continued foraging...alone.