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Nests & Eggs: Spotted Sandpiper

Nests & Eggs: Spotted Sandpiper

Plate 11: Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius

Nests & Eggs: Spotted Sandpiper

You’ll find it along the shores of rivers, lakes, and streams tipping its tail up as it walks along.

Any pond, lake or stream will be visited sooner or later by these little sandpipers. You find them teetering along shores, picking up insects and small crustacea which form the diet. Mud banks, sandy shores, pebbly mountain streams, half-sunken logs, all furnish happy hunting grounds.

The teetering tail is distinctive and no other sandpiper has the round black spots on his breast and none has the fluttering flight. They seem to tip-toe thru the air with very short wingbeats. Young and adults in winter plumage do not show the spots but continue to teeter. They often show a white spot just above the bend of the wing when in this plumage. Their usual note is a 2-tone “peet-weet,” which it utters when flushed from its feeding ground.

These birds nest in a variety of places, sometimes well hidden but often in more open situations but always in a slight depression in the ground. Their 4 eggs are protectively colored and are sometimes found some distance from water. The young teeter to the closest stream, led by the ever-watchful mother. There you will find them busily engaged in gathering food. They can swim or even dive, if necessary.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol I
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XI: Spotted Sandpiper, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Spotted Sandpiper at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The Spotted Sandpiper is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER IX. Longbill and Teeter.
  • Read “The Sandpiper” by Celia Thaxter.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Spotted Sandpiper Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Spotted Sandpiper
Bird picture for notebook.

Teeter the Spotted Sandpiper
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Spotted Sandpiper Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:

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