In June 2020, BirdWatching reported on the work of Debbie Leick and her colleagues recording and figuring out nocturnal flight calls of migrating passerines via western Montana. Further knowledge 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. When they put in their first three microphones in 2013, they have been astonished to determine a trio of Upland Sandpiper calls amongst their many different recordings that 12 months. Eventually, 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 virtually unrecorded in Montana west of the Continental Divide, with a complete of solely 5 eBird information. What’s occurring?
“We can’t say something for certain,” Leick says, “however my speculation is that these birds are coming down from Alaska or close by areas. They’re following some kind of migration hall that we predict numerous different birds out of Alaska are taking.”
The dearth of eBird information could possibly be defined by the truth that Upland Sandpipers are “excessive migrants,” usually overlaying hundreds of miles at a stretch with out touching down. The numbers recommend, nevertheless, that Leick and Stone’s sandpipers aren’t any strays which have gotten misplaced or blown off track. If something, their outcomes could also be underrepresenting the precise variety of Upland Sandpipers passing via since lots of the birds could possibly be flying too excessive for the microphones to detect. Either manner, their analysis suggests a shocking, beforehand unknown migration pathway for Upland Sandpipers, one which broadens our understanding of those enigmatic grassland shorebirds.
This article seems in “Birding Briefs” within the July/August 2021 challenge of BirdWatching journal.
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