The Spotted Sandpiper is widespread throughout North America. Its characteristic teetering or bobbing gate is easy to spot as it walks along the water’s edge. The female sometimes plays a somewhat unique role in the relationship. It is the female who first returns to the nesting grounds, it is the female who vies for and defends her share of lakefront territory and it is the female who chooses her mate. The female typically lays 4 eggs. The male takes over incubation immediately while the female is off to find another male to mate with. She will do this up to 4 or 5 times before settling down to share the nesting duties with her last mate. The former males are left to incubate and take care of the young by themselves. This practice is referred to as polyandry and does not always occur. Often times they are monogamous.
Sandpipers have a boldly spotted black and white belly with grey-brown above and a white wing stripe.They are commonly found along shorelines – sandy, rocky or muddy shores of interior lakes, ponds, rivers and streams as well as on seashores.
The Sandpiper’s diet consists mostly of small invertebrates – flies, worms, grasshoppers, beetles – plus snails and small fish. Their nest is a hollow in the ground hidden in the grass, with a thin lining of materials such as grass and moss. The nest is usually situated close to the water. An average of 4 eggs are laid with an incubation period of 20 to 22 days. The young leave the nest soon after hatching and are independent after 17 to 21 days.