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Teeter, The Spotted Sandpiper

While reading The Burgess Bird Book, I realized very quickly that I have a soft spot for small birds with long legs. I could watch them for hours. When we lived in Dubai, my husband and I loved to spot Plovers, watching as they circled and diverted our attention, protecting their young.

You may not have spent a lot of time trying to identify shorebirds and maybe you live too far away from water to be able to do it very often. Did you know that there are actually so many different species? They are actually quite difficult to identify. The Spotted Sandpiper is the most pervasive breeding Sandpiper across North America, and the one Sandpiper that Burgess chose for his book. Shorebirds live and breed among many different types of bodies of water, so even if you don’t live next to a large lake or an ocean, you can find them near streams, rivers, and smaller bodies of water as well.

Burgess gives this bird the name of Teeter, the perfect name for a bird with such long legs, mentioning Peter Rabbits observation, “every few steps he would stop to pick up something, then stand for a second bobbing up and down in the funniest way, as if his body was so nicely balanced on his legs that it teetered back and forth like a seesaw.” (Burgess Bird Book, Living Books Press, p. 44)

A Spotted Sandpiper only wears its spotted breast during breeding season, and wears a plain white breast in winter. (allaboutbirds.org). This year, I have realized that studying the immature and adolescent stages of different bird species, as well as, their breeding and non-breeding plumage is really quite important. For this bird, it certainly is because a Spotted Sandpiper is not spotted all year round!

Look at what my Form 1, Grade 3 student gathered about Teeter:

Hope you have a long leg type of day, getting out to bird! Until the next one, <3 Kate

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