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Shorebird Season is Here

Early May is a very exciting time. The bird migration makes its way through Northern Michigan, and we are seeing beautiful colors flitting through the trees and at our feeders. The sad part is that the Warblers and other song birds to pass through and find a mate (or mates) and breed in their nesting territory's. Don't worry though as late May and early June the Shorebirds make their big push through our region on their way to their breeding grounds in the Arctic Tundra. These birds are insane travelers. Most shorebirds will come from southern South America and migrate all the way to the Arctic Tundra. They are there for a few weeks before they start slowing migrating back south. The fall migration for them is much longer, but their plumage is different and sometimes more difficult to identify. If you want to see them, it is important for us birders to find a mud flat, or wet beach area along the lake or other wetlands, as these are the places the shorebirds will drop down to for a quick meal and nap. Shorebirds can be very challenging to identify, but once you get the hang of it, they can be quite fun and beautiful in their own way. They have unique adaptations to help them reach deep into the mud to find insects, grubs, and other little critters to eat. Long bills, long legs, and camouflaged colors are some of the traits they developed through evolution to help their species thrive and survive. Below are pictures of some shorebirds that I have taken this year.


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Piping Plover


Willet and Whimbrel


Solitary Sandpiper


Wilson's Phalaropes


Spotted Sandpiper


Solitary Sandpiper


Willet



Another Wilson's Phalarope


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