Why did the Lesser Yellowlegs cross the road?

To lead me away from her nesting site most likely!

It’s not too hard to find Lesser Yellowlegs in interior Alaska during the summer months if you get a ways out of town near some water.  And you’ll know you found one when you hear that mind-numbing “TU TU TU” alarm call.  (You can hear it here.)

The Greater Yellowlegs – a larger version of this bird – also visits Alaska in the spring and summer, but doesn’t come this far north.  In the winter, Yellowlegs sandpipers can be found in Mexico and the coastal and southern edge of the U.S.

They eat aquatic insects, snails, & small fish, nest in depressions in the ground in bogs and treeless tundra, and give birth to 4 eggs which when hatched are precocial which means they can fend for themselves as soon as their natal down is dry.

It’s hard to believe, but people used to hunt sandpipers like these!  These skinny little birds were game species and apparently market hunters nearly wiped out many types of shorebirds before they were protected in the early 1900s.  Thank goodness!!!


13 responses

  1. Both the greater and lesser legs are present here in Nova Scotia. They’re sweet birds. Considering how little meat would be on them, I can’t imagine why they’d be hunted so.

    July 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm

  2. Thanks for stopping by my art blog. This a wonderful study. I like that there is a collection of photos together.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    • Thanks Gretchen, it’s really fun to create.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:23 am

  3. Had a tiny killdeer couple do that to me last year. They were incredibly funny – running so fast that those tiny, skinny legs were a blur, then going into the broken wing routine while their offspring (tiny clumps of hair on what looked like monofilament legs) ran around nearby with a devil-may-care attitude. Didn’t have my telephoto lens then — now I do, but no killdeer. Dang!

    July 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    • Monofilament legs lol…love your description. Those babies are ADORABLE.

      Sometimes it’s not so bad not having a camera since then we can just watch in pure enjoyment instead of always trying to “capture” whatever is going on. It’s a double-edged sword.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:21 am

      • Quite right, too. I just stood there, transfixed by the wonder of it – could have watched for hours.

        July 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

  4. I enjoy reading your blogs, you are such an amazing Photographer!

    November 1, 2012 at 5:46 am

  5. Why Is that Lesser Yellowlegs standing on one leg? Ans: because if it lifted both legs, it’d fall over, boom boom 😉

    PS here’s an interesting snippet about why flamingoes stand on one leg.

    November 26, 2012 at 2:05 am

  6. fascinating video. we consider the mona lisa to be priceless right…. yet it took nature millions of years to make the (extinct) tasmanian tiger! it’s so sad and wrong.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:08 am

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