In June 2020, BirdWatching reported on the work of Debbie Leick and her colleagues recording and figuring out nocturnal flight calls of migrating passerines by means of western Montana. Additional information evaluation has revealed a startling sample of migration not simply by passerines but in addition by Upland Sandpipers.
Leick and her boss, Kate Stone, each work for MPG Ranch. After they put in their first three microphones in 2013, they have been astonished to establish a trio of Upland Sandpiper calls amongst their many different recordings that 12 months. Finally, they put in 50 listening units all through the Bitterroot Valley, and with extra microphones, the variety of Upland Sandpiper detections ballooned — to 29 in 2018 and a whopping 51 the next 12 months.
The result’s shocking provided that Upland Sandpipers are nearly unrecorded in Montana west of the Continental Divide, with a complete of solely 5 eBird information. What’s happening?
“We are able to’t say something for positive,” Leick says, “however my speculation is that these birds are coming down from Alaska or close by areas. They’re following some form of migration hall that we predict quite a lot of different birds out of Alaska are taking.”
The dearth of eBird information might be defined by the truth that Upland Sandpipers are “excessive migrants,” typically overlaying 1000’s of miles at a stretch with out touching down. The numbers counsel, nonetheless, that Leick and Stone’s sandpipers are not any strays which have gotten misplaced or blown off target. If something, their outcomes could also be underrepresenting the precise variety of Upland Sandpipers passing by means of since lots of the birds might be flying too excessive for the microphones to detect. Both approach, their analysis suggests a shocking, beforehand unknown migration pathway for Upland Sandpipers, one which broadens our understanding of those enigmatic grassland shorebirds.
This text seems in “Birding Briefs” within the July/August 2021 difficulty of BirdWatching journal.