Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spotted Sandpiper Broken Wing Distraction Display

Spotted Sandpiper Broken Wing Distraction Display

While hiking along the Elbow River on June 18, 2013, a Spotted Sandpiper flew out from some tall grass about ten meters ahead of me, and landed close to the shore. After landing, the bird gave a good performance of "I can't fly," and walked with the wings engaged in a partial flap along the shore and away from me.

Spotted Sandpipers are usually foraging on the shore or flying from one shoreline to another. They are not common inland, but from time to time I do see them in the brush on the sides of the river. When I come across a Spotted Sandpiper in the brush I often wonder if a nest is near, but I don't usually investigate the area. 

The "broken wing distraction" display is much stronger evidence for a nearby nest. As such, I ignored the bird, and looked for the nest. I was careful so that I would not step on the eggs, and likely I was too careful, because I never found the nest. 

The nest is usually in a hollow depression on the ground in some brush or against some tall grass. There are usually four eggs. I will look again tomorrow. 


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