This gangly fellow is one of the most likely sandpipers to be seen in the region surrounding the banding station during migration. This sandpiper is named “solitary” because it migrates in small groups, unlike most other shorebirds which tend to travel in large flocks. The solitary is also one of only two species of sandpiper that nest in trees rather than on the ground, often taking over the abandoned nests of songbirds.
During migration, the sandpiper is often found around the shores of small ponds and lowland lakes as well as near flooded fields and even in drainage ditches or creeks. The banding station’s nets are near some such habitats. The sandpiper uses its long, slender beak to probe for worms and burrowing insects and the occasional small frog, while its spindly legs allow it to maneuver in its watery, muddy environment.
Photo: Bill Hubick