[Tweeters] Semipalmated Feeding Behavior

Timothy Barksdale timothy.barksdale at gmail.com
Tue Jan 12 13:35:36 PST 2021


First filmed this behavior about 25 years ago at Goleta, CA. I suspect that some of my footage at Cornell Lab has this. The new library of footage is going to begin being logged this summer by a student with both ornithology as well as film training.

Several species do this including Snowy Egrets, but for each species needs. Certainly this is a feeding mechanism. Because birds have such sophisticated senses, they can see, hear and feel things which we cannot. The vibration certainly must affect the tiny annelid-like prey species which may be revealed or perhaps even attracted to the vibration.

The vibrating foot is carefully placed out in front while the other foot supports the bird’s weight. The Plover seems to listen more than look directly downward. I have not noticed the head being cocked in any particular attitude. But the typical plunge/grab feeding of the Plovers follows once the bird detects an item to devour. Then the behaviour is repeated in a slightly different location.

Because this behavior seems to be done in very shallow pools, I have long thought the vibration is helpful to reveal one type of species. I’ve seen very thin wire like worms being consumed but I do not know if any other type of species are revealed or attracted due to this.

Very best,

Birdman Productions - Montana
Birdman Adventures - Missouri

> Message: 6

> Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:11:23 -0800

> From: Greg Harrington <gregtheteacher at gmail.com <mailto:gregtheteacher at gmail.com>>

> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu <mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>

> Subject: [Tweeters] Semipalmated Plover Behavior

> Message-ID: <B32DE1D9-BBF2-4BEA-9109-C94EB24F24C5 at gmail.com <mailto:B32DE1D9-BBF2-4BEA-9109-C94EB24F24C5 at gmail.com>>

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> Greetings!


> About a month ago I was out at the coast watching some Semipalmated Plovers feeding in the tidal zone. It was really cold and I noticed one bird?s leg shaking ? and being rather cold myself I assumed at first it was shivering. Looking over at another one I saw it doing the same thing ? and I wondered at that point if it was shaking its leg a part of a probing/feeding behavior. I have not really found any info about this, but it makes sense since their bills are too short to probe the mud it makes sense to me that they?d have an alternative means for sensing or finding snacks.


> If anyone has any insights or has seen similar behavior I?d enjoy hearing more.


> In terms of an early Spring ? I have a coneflower plant that is putting out a bloom which is astonishing since it is about 5 months too early!


> Happy Birding,

> Greg Harrington

Timothy Barksdale
Birdman Productions LLC
P.O.Box 1124
69 Mountain View Dr.
Choteau, MT 59422

Missouri: Birdman Adventures LLC

Timothy dot barksdale at gmail dot .com

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