Birds – Upland Plover

The Bartramian Sandpiper, or Upland Plover (Bartramia longicauda), above alluded to, is one of the most characteristic members of the order in eastern and central North America east of the Great Basin, though extending as far north as the Yukon Valley and Nova Scotia. It is about twelve inches long, light brownish above, barred and spotted with blackish, blackish on the crown, and buffy streaked with dusky on the head and neck, while the throat and belly are dull whitish or very pale buff; the outer primary is white barred. The habits of this bird are peculiar for a so-called wader, since it appears rather to shun water and to spend its life mainly on open prairies, meadows, and pastures, where its plumage so harmonizes with the surroundings that it cannot be detected at a little distance. It is a rather shy bird, difficult to approach closely, and is observed singly or in pairs in summer, though in winter it congregates in some parts of its range in considerable flocks. It feeds on insects of various kinds, running over the ground with great rapidity, and when pushed to flight using its wings with effective effort. As it alights it has the habit of stretching its wings high over the back before settling them in place. It has various notes, such as a soft, double-noted whistle uttered when it is flushed, and a “song” which Langille calls a “prolonged, mournful, mellow whistle, more like the whistling of wind than a bird’s voice.”