While enjoying your morning cup of coffee or tea you may have noticed that more birds seem to be flitting from tree to flower to ground in search of food and water. You may also have noticed how quiet these birds are compared to May and June when birds were filling the air with song to defend their breeding territory or attract a mate.
So, why do birds stop singing in late summer? At the end of July, most chicks have fledged their nests joining the ranks of their parents as fledglings. Most adults stop singing as they are no longer defending their territories or in search of a mate. Instead, they are busy rearing their young and teaching them how to find their own food before they fly south for the winter.
The Arrival of Migratory Shorebirds
As bird song diminishes into August, it can leave those of us who cherish the dawn chorus longing for more. The good news is that with diminished bird song comes the arrival of migratory arctic shorebirds that only visit the Great Lakes region during their incredible migratory journeys to and from their wintering grounds. Most of these shorebirds breed in the arctic tundra, some as far west as Alaska or even Russia making their migration journeys some of the longest! Some shorebirds, like the Pectoral Sandpiper, migrate to Argentina and Chile and have a round-trip flight of up to 19,000 miles each year! The Least Sandpiper meanwhile can fly non-stop for up to 2,500 miles!
The best places to look for these incredible travelers includes coastal mudflats, rocky or sandy shorelines, and some inland habitats like flooded fields, wet meadows, and muddy edges of wetlands, lakes, and ponds. Here are what shorebirds to expect over the next few months in the Great Lakes region: