North American Shorebirds

I’ve been photographing North American shorebirds since 1992. I am entranced by these superbly adapted creatures and the places they inhabit—tidal marshes, mudflats, sandy beaches, and even Arctic tundra. Many shorebirds are long-distance migrants, making yearly round-trip flights from wintering areas in South and Central America and the southern United States to breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska.

Most of us get to see these birds—sandpipers, plovers, dowitchers, turnstones, and other members of the tribe—during spring and fall migrations. If you are lucky enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, as I did for many years, you can see shorebirds year-round.The Bay Area hosts one of the largest populations of wintering shorebirds in North America. Others pass through during migration, and a few species—avocets, stilts, and snowy plovers—breed in the salt marshes that ring the Bay.

On the East Coast, Cape Cod offers excellent places to see shorebirds, especially during the southward migration, which begins shortly after July 4 and lasts through September.

Finally, a trip to the Canadian Arctic gave me a rare opportunity to photograph American golden plovers, stilt sandpipers, least sandpipers, Hudsonian godwits, and whimbrels on their breeding grounds.


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