Thursday, 12 March 2015

B.O.T.D. Wandering Tattler

Wandering Tattler (Tringa icana)

Named for its migratory prowess, the Wandering Tattler remains little known to most Canadians. Many of these birds head out to sea to reach distant shores during migration, but a small number hug the Pacific coastline and linger at rocky headlands, jetties, and tide pools before continuing as far south as Peru, eastern New Guinea and Australia. The Wandering Tattler has been recorded as a vagrant in migration as far east as Ontario.

This bird's breeding sites remained a mystery until 1912, when a geologist exploring river gravel bars discovered the bird's secret. Eventually, nests and sticks were found in northwestern British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska and southeastern Siberia. Although Wandering Tattlers conduct flight displays and much of their daily activity along riverine gravel bars, recent studies found that nests are often situated on tundra hundreds of meters removed from water. The tattler tends to stand and walk in a horizontal posture while its tail, and its cryptic plumage makes it difficult to spot when the bird stands still. The name tattler is derived from this bird's habit of giving a rapid series of clear, hollow alarm whistles at the first sight of any perceived threat.