Spectacular Shorebirds


Spectacular shorebirds!   You bet.   To know them is to love them.  These little birds are superstars.



Take a look at the gorgeous feather patterns and impressive bills on these shorebirds.


Hudsonian Godwit Portrait


Sanderling on Lake Ontario Shore


American Golden Plover

Every spring and fall, shorebirds make their epic migratory journey to their arctic breeding grounds, then back to their wintering grounds in South America.   Along the way they make some important stops to rest and refuel.


“Man, I’m tired…”

Lucky for me, one of their important stopover points is Presqu’ile Provincial Park, just minutes from my house.


Early morning at the shore

Once everyone wakes up, things can get really busy at the lakeshore, as these little birds eat, bathe, preen, and joust for territory.


On Guard!


“Bring it on!”

Shorebirds can often be found in mixed species groups.   The different shapes and lengths of their bills allow them to feed at various depths of water at the shoreline.


“I like your bill too.”    Whimbrel and Hudsonian Godwit


“Where to next?”


Sandpipers and a Short-billed Dowitcher (Which has a very long bill…)

The incredible thing about these mixed groups of birds is how they can all fly as one flock.   Watching them twist and turn through the air as one unit is a true wonder of nature.



As these little birds are often preyed upon by raptors, it is important that they be able to stick together and move quickly.   I have seen Northern Harriers, Merlins, and a Peregrine Falcon trying to catch one for a meal, usually by trying to separate one bird from the flock.


Coming in for a landing


Settling In

Once they perceive that danger is past, they will fly back into shore and begin to feed again.


The Rare Hudsonian Godwit

It’s really worth taking a visit to the shore, and seeing who is around.    Fall shorebird migration takes place between now and late November, or whenever the algae beds freeze up.

To check out which birds have been visiting Presqu’ile Park this week, see Fred Helleiner’s Presqu’ile Bird Report, published faithfully every Thursday.




  1. They’re so funny looking, but I can see why you love them. It’s too bad we were so lazy when we came to visit and didn’t see them. At least we get to see this post!

  2. It’s great to see shorebirds get some attention! I have been bird- watching for almost 70 years (school Audubon Club started in grade 3), but have had few opportunities to get to know these interesting guys and gals.

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