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Association of Migrating Waders

John T. Nichols
Publication Information
6 (November-December)
From Field and Study

Association of Migrating Waders

Mention of collecting a male and female Of the Baird Sandpiper by L. E. Wyman in the July-August CONDOR(p. 172), calls to mind observations made by myself on migrating shore birds on the Atlantic coast during recent seasons. It was early noticed that the first birds to come south in the fall as well as the late ones travelling north in the spring, were very often seen two together. At times they appeared to be male and female, which is quite possible to det,ermine in some apeties without taking specimens, the female being so much larger and longer billed. At other times they looked just alike. At first I took it for granted that these birds were mated pairs, but more recently I. have come to have little confidence in that hypothesis. Too often have a couple of boon companions, separat.ed from the crowd and evidently counting a good deal on one anothers ’ society, been of different species, a Least and a Semipalmated Sandpiper or even a Ringneck Plover and one of the smaller species It also appears that three birds travel in company as,often as two, perhaps more often in the late summer, and my belief is that these associations are, in general, purely platonic. We know that there are times when we prefer to travel with one or two chosen companions rather than with a crowd, and the more I see of them the more comparable to our own the social instincts of the shore birds appear. This point of view does not rest on sufficiently definite data to be called a scientific observaton, but nevertheless I would like to present it for consideration.

John T. Nichols

New York City, August 15, 1919

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