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Least Sandpiper

This small bird has earned the title of being the smallest shorebird.

In the group of small, similar sandpipers known as peeps, the Least Sandpiper is distinguishable by its yellow legs, though they can become covered in mud and thus appear black like those of the other species. While Least Sandpipers nest at high latitudes, they migrate across much of North America.

Male Least Sandpipers take an active role in nesting duties, forming a depression in vegetation in which the female creates a nest cup, as well as sharing incubation duties that include longer shifts than the female. When many sandpipers are nesting fairly close together, young chicks may end up with another family group.

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Description of the Least Sandpiper


Least Sandpiper

Copyright Glenn Bartley
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The Least Sandpiper is a small shorebird with yellowish legs and a short, somewhat down-curved bill relative to other small Calidris sandpipers. Breeding birds have a brownish breast ending abruptly at a white belly, and brownish upperparts.  In flight, a weak white wing stripe is visible.  Length: 6 in.  Wingspan: 13 in.


The sexes are similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

Winter birds are plainer, with less heavily marked underparts and grayer upperparts.

Least Sandpiper

Photograph © Greg Lavaty.


Juveniles are similar to breeding adults, but have less heavily marked breasts and considerable rufous in the upperparts.


Least Sandpipers inhabit mudflats, marshes, and shorelines.


Least Sandpipers eat insects and crustaceans.


Least Sandpipers forage by gleaning from the surface of the ground or by probing in mud.


Least Sandpipers breed in Canada and Alaska. They winter from the southern U.S. to South America, and occur across all of the U.S. in migration. The population is stable.

Fun Facts

The Least Sandpiper is the smallest of the Calidris sandpipers.

Female Least Sandpipers often leave the young with the male a few days after they hatch.


The flight song is a multi-syllable trill.  A “reep” flight call is also given.


Similar Species

Western Sandpipers have dark legs and longer, slightly down-curved bills.

White-rumped and Baird’s Sandpipers have wing which are longer than the tail when folded.

Semipalmated Sandpipers have dark legs.


The Least Sandpiper’s nest is a depression lined with grass, leaves, and moss, and is placed in a clump of grass.

Number: Usually lay 4 eggs.
Color: Buffy with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 19-23 days, and leave the nest shortly after hatching, though associating with the adults for some time.


Bent Life History of the Least Sandpiper

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Least Sandpiper – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.


HABITSContributed by Charles Wendell Townsend

This least of all our sandpipers is so little smaller than the semipalmated sandpiper and differs so slightly from it in other ways that the two are generally confused in life. Their small size and their notes have given them the familiar name of peep,” but near New York they are also called “oxeye.” Who has not been gladdened by the sight of flocks of these gentle little birds scampering along the beach or diligently feeding in the tidal flats and in the salt marshes!

Spring: The duration of the spring migration is much more brief than that of the autumnal one. The birds are hastening to their breeding grounds and the least sandpiper is only a month in passing through. In New England this is from about May 5 to June 7. At this time the birds are more apt to be found on the beaches than in the fall, although they are found in greatest abundance in the marshes.

Courtship: The most noticeable part of the courtship of the least sandpiper is the song. I have observed it on the breeding grounds in Nova Scotia and in Labrador, as well as during the spring migration in New England. The bird springs up into the air on quivering, down-curved wings and circles about, now lower, now higher, reaching at times a height of 50 or more yards. In the air it emits a short sweet trill which is rapidly repeated, and with each song burst the wings are rapidly vibrated. On one occasion in Labrador the bird remained in the air circling and repeatedly trilling for five minutes by the watch, and continued to trill after it had reached the ground. Immediately it was up again, trilling, and, as I left the bog, it followed me, still trilling.

This courtship song has been described at great length and with much appreciation by Robert T. Moore (1912) from intimate studies made by him on five nesting birds in the Magdalen Islands, and he has recorded these songs in musical notation. He ranks it high among bird songs and dwells on its tremulous and pathetic qualities. lie observed one that rendered its entire song from the ground within a foot of his hand. “It consisted of a series of trills, which ascended just one octave on a minor chord. The tone quality was pure and sweet and rendered pathetic by the minor chord, which served as its medium.” He says of the records he made of the flight songs of three birds that: Each in its notes, progressions, and even time is totally different from the others, yet, without sight of the bird, I would instantly recognize them as songs of the least sandpiper. This is due to the fact that the quality of tone is constant in all, being pure and sweet, the tempo is aways extremely fast, the notes being delivered with great rapidity, and the pitch high. Trills and runs are characteristic and make an additional recognition quality.

All these observations were made on birds that were both incubating and singing. On one occasion only did he see two birds together.

This flight song piped overhead and was sung over and over again with a tremulous zest. Alternating with It, was repeated for long Intervals an excited call of two notes. We glanced up and for the first time beheld two adult least sandpipers together. Alternately they flapped and soared and circled about In rapturous fashion. For several minutes the alternation of song and call continued without break of any kind. Sometimes the song was given three times consecutively and followed by as many as 30 or 40 repetitions of the call, this In turn to be followed by the song again.

W. E. Saunders (1902) has recorded the courtship as observed by him at Sable Island. He was there between May 16 and 23, too early for nesting. He says: “I found them invariably in pairs, evidently mated, and often sitting so close together that two could be obtained at a single shot if desired.” To his ear the song notes resembled somewhat those of the spotted sandpiper. He says of the courtship flight:

Sometimes both birds would be in the air at once, but whether the female gave the note as well as the male, I could not definitely ascertain without shooting the birds, which I was very loath to do. The note would be given continuously for perhaps three or four minutes, during which time the bird flies slowly with steady flapping of the wings, mounting in the air gradually until, when watching them in the evening, one loses sight of them In the gloom.

Nesting: The least sandpiper makes its nest either in wet grassy or sphagnum bogs close to a pond or tidal water, or on dry uplands, often among low bushes. In either case the nest is a simple affair. P. B. Philipp (1925) describes its method of construction as observed by him in the Magdalen Islands:

The bird picks out a spot in the wet moss of a bog or in the dry leaves of a ridge, and scratches a shallow hollow in which it sits, and, by rapidly turning, molds a depression of the required depth. Which of the pair does this I have never determined, hut the other bird Is usually present, standing close to the nest-builder and offering encouragement by a low, rapid twittering.

The nest depression in the moss is generally lined with dry leaves, although these may be very few in number, and a little dried grass.

The internal dimensions of the nest as given by Audubon (1840) are: Diameter, 21/2 inches; depth, hA inches.

J. R. Whitaker writes, in his notes on these birds at Grand Lake, Newfoundland, that the nest is nearly always amongst a labyrinth of pools of water, and is usually on the side or the top of a hummock of sphagnum moss, but I have found them on flat ground amongst reindeer moss. When on a moss hummock, the scratch is about 2 inches deep and there is always an inch or so of material in the bottom usually composed of cranberry leaves and short bits of cotton grass stems.

Eggs: [Autllor’s note: Four eggs is the rule with the least sandpiper. They vary in shape from ovate pyriform (the usual shape) to subpyriform, and they have only a slight gloss. The ground colors vary from “deep olive buff” to “pale olive buff,” or from “pale pinkish buff” to “cartridge buff.” There are two extreme types of markings, the boldly blotched and the finely sprinkled type, with many intergradations between them. Some eggs are more or less evenly covered, usually more thickly about the larger end, with a mixture of dots, small spots, and small, irregular blotches. In some the blotches are larger, more elongated, often spirally arranged and often confluent at the larger end. In still others the whole egg is evenly covered with very fine dots and small markings. There are two sets from Labrador of the latter type in my collection; one has a pinkish ground color, covered uniformly with a fine sprinkling of reddish brown markings, exactly like certain eggs of the western sandpiper; the other set is similarly marked, but the ground color is “olive buff” and the markings are in darker browns. At the other end of the range of variation I have a particularly handsome egg, which has an “olive buff” ground color, with a few large splashes of “vinaceous drab,” overlaid, chiefly around the larger end, with a few great splashes of ”liver ~ ” chestnut brown,” and “bone brown.” The ordinary markings are in various shades of dark, rich browns, “bay,” “liver brown,” “chestnut,” and “hazel,” deepening to blackish brown where the pigment is thickest. The underlying spots are in pale shades of “vinaceous drab.” The measurements of 65 eggs in the United States National Museum average 29 by 21 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 31 by 21, 30 by 22, 26.5 by 20, and 28 by 19 millimeters.]

Young: Incubation is believed to be performed largely by the male. Mr. Philipp (1925) Collected four birds from the nests and all proved to be males on dissection. Also a bird which was accidentally stepped on while it was shielding four young or “downies” was a male. In fact, after the eggs are laid both birds are seldom seen around the nest. The incubating bird is most solicitous about its nest. It sits very closely and, when flushed, half runs, half flutters for a few feet as If trying to lead the intruder away. If you are not deceived by these actions but remain quiet, the bird soon returns and walks daintily about, uttering a quickly repeated peep, peep, peep, often with such vehemence that the saliva fairly runs from its bill.

Mr. Moore (1912), however, shot a bird which he thought was both incubating and singing, and it proved to be a female.

Sometimes both parents show solicitude for the young as in the following case in the Yukon region, reported by Dr. Louis B. Bishop (1900):

I came upon a female surrounded by four downy young. Both parents tried time and ngatn the well known wounded-bird tactics to lure me from the spot where the young were hidden in the hunches of grass, and finding this a faiiure, would circle around me only a few yards off, uttering a plaintive twitter.

Plumages: [Autkor’s note: The tiny chick of the least sandpiper is prettily colored as are the young of all the tundra nesting species. The upper parts, crown, back, wings, and thighs, are quite uniformly variegated with rich browns, “bay,” “chestnut” and “Sanford’s brown.” through which the black basal down shows in places; this is spotted irregularly, from crown to rump, with small round spots, terminal tufts, of yellowish buff. The forehead and sides of the head and neck are pale buff, with narrow, black frontal, loral and malar stripes. The under parts are pure white.

Young birds are in juvenal plumage when they arrive here in August and generally do not show much signs of molting before they leave here in September. This plumage is darker and more richly colored above than in the spring adult; the feathers of the crown, back, scapulars and all wing coverts are broadly edged with rich, bright browns, “hazel” or “cinnamon rufous,” broadest and brightest on the back and scapulars; some scapulars are tipped with white; the throat is often faintly, but sometimes not at all, streaked with dusky. A partial postjuvenal molt in the fall, involving the body plumage and some of the scapulars antI tertials, produces a first winter plumage which can be distinguished from the adult by the retained juvenal wing coverts, scapulars, and tertials. At the first prenuptial molt the next spring young birds become indistinguishable from adults, except for some of the old juvenal wing coverts.

The complete postnuptial molt of adults begins in August and is mainly accomplished after the birds have migrated. At a partial prenuptial molt, mainly in April and May, the adult renews the body plumage and tail and some of the tertials and wing coverts. Adults in spring are more brightly colored, with more rufous and buffy edgings, and the breast is more distinctly streaked than in fall.]

Food: These birds appear to be feeding on small crustaceans and worms on the beaches and on insects and their larvae in the marshes. It is to be hoped that with the incrense of the birds the pest of green-head flies and of mosquitoes in the salt marshes may diminish. E. A. Preble (1923) examined two stomachs from birds shot in the Pribilof Islands and found that one of them contained amphipods exclusively, the other the following items: “23 seeds of bottle brush (Hippur~s vulgar-is), 50 per cent; bits of liydroid stems, 40 per cent; and chitin from the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), 10 per cent.” A. H. Howell (1924) reports as follows: “Of the 19 stomachs of this bird collected in Alabama, practically all contained larvae or pupae of small flies (Chironomidae) in a few bits of aquatic beetles were found.” Dr. Alexander Wetmore (1916) found in the stomach of a bird taken in Poito Rico “the heads of more than 100 minute fly larvae (75 per cent) and fragments of small beetles (Hetercerus sp.) (25 per cent).”

Behavior: The least sandpiper has always been a confiding and an unsuspicious bird, and these characteristics have increased since it has been protected at all seasons. So diligent are they in their search for food that they appear to take no notice of man if he remain quiet, and they run about almost at his feet. They are fascinating birds to watch. Not only are they gregarious, collecting in large and small flocks on the migrations, but they are also of a sociable disposition and associate. amicably with other shore birds, large and small. They run around among yellow legs like pigmies among giants. A mixed company of several kinds of sandpiI)ers and of plovers feeding together is a common sight. In flight the different species, although in company, generally, but not always, keep by themselves.

In the marshes: which are their preferred feeding grounds, although, as stated above, they are sometimes found on the beaches, especially in the spring: they scatter widely, and one may flush one bird after another, previously unseen in the grass. They soon unite in a flock, however, and after circling about and turning now this way, now that, with great nicety of evolution, drop down again suddenly, often near the spot from which they sprang. A single bird flushed generally darts off in irregular zigzags, very much after the manner of a Wilson snipe, calling as it goes.

In feeding in marshes they frequent the short grass and also the open sloughs or mud holes. Here they snap up insects or probe diligently for larvae in the mud and shallow water. They are fond of the mud and sand flats in the tidal estuaries at low water where they appear to find plenty of food, and they run about on the eel grass. In all these places they spread out in an irregular fashion when feeding. Such gluttons are they that they are generally loaded with fat on the southward migration and they are often very fat in the spring. Notwithstanding this, their wind seems to be excellent and their flight as swift. They are fond of bathing like most birds, and of this Mr. Nichols writes in his notes as follows:

It squats In shallow water, ducking the head under, throwing the water back and fluttering the wings, and at the end of the bath jumps an inch or two into the air with a flutter, apparently to shake the water out of its feathers. Afterwards It usually stands quietly and gives Its plumage a thorough preening.

Voice: The nuptial song has been described under courtship, but the bird has also a variety of call notes from a simple weep or peep, from which, doubtless, it gets its common name, to a succession of notes more or less complicated. John T. Nichols (1920) has written at length on the voices of shore birds, and has kindly furnished the following for this article:

The Identificatlun flight-call is a loud diagnostic kreep, distinguished by the d~i sound from any note of the semipalmated sandpiper . . . In flushing, a least sandpiper sometimes utters a string of short unloud notes with or without the ~fi sound, qucc-quee-qaee-que or queque to be followed almost immediately by some variation of the flight call, as it gets more fully under way. The flight note varies down to a che and cher, not readily, if at all, distinguishable from similar caili~ of the semipalmated sandpiper … When a flock are up and wheelIng about a feeding spot to alight there again almost at once, they have sumetimes a confiding little note chu chis chu cha, etc. It has also a whtnny, a little less clearly enunciated than that of the semipalmated but almost Identical with the same.

Field marks: The small size of the least sandpiper distinguishes it readily from all the other sandpipers in this country except the semipalmated, with two exceptions to be noted later. As the least is more frequently found on tidal flats in the estuaries and in salt marshes, it is sometimes called the “mud peep,” while the semipalmated, which especially delights in the sand beaches is called the “sand peep.” Unfortunately this rule, although of general value, is far from absolute, and the birds often exchange places. The least sandpiper is more often found on the beach in the spring than in the fall. The semipalmation is, of course, a diagnostic mark in the hand, but only under exceptional circumstances can it be seen in the field. The color of the tarsus, however, is distinctive and can be made out in favorable light at a considerable distance. I have always thought it absolutely distinctive, but the published descript.ions and plates of these two birds are often inaccurate. I have, therefore, compared the legs of both these sl)ecies, freshly collected, with Ridgway’s (1912) “Color Standards and Color Nomenclature.” In the semipalmated sandpiper the tarsi of the adults are black and this is also the case in the juvenals except that. there is a slight greenish tinge to be seen on close inspection. In the adult least sandpiper the tarsi are distinctly yellow with a faint greenish cast. They correspond best to the suiphine yellow of Ridgway, while the toes, which shade off a little darker, are cit~ine. In the juvenal, there is more of a greenish tinge, and I have put the tarsi down as oil yellolL., the toes shading into yellowish oil green. In deciding on these colors I have had the advice of an artist. The richer brown plumage of the back and the darker streakings and ~vash of the breast help to distinguish the least from the lighter and grayer semipalmated bird, but in the fall these distinctions are less marked in the adult. Even at this season, however, a least sandpiper on the beach in a flock of semipalmated stands out by its browner colors, and, in the marsh, a semipalmated in a flock of least looks very gray. The least sandpiper is a little smaller than the other bird, but this character as well as the color of the plumage are of slight value without the presence of both birds for comparison.

Another point, which at times can be satisfactorily made out in the field, is that the bill of the least sandpiper is slightly decurved, while that of the semipalmated is straight and stouter. It has been noted by Coues (1861) and by others independently, that the least sandpiper is a perfect miniature of the pectoral sandpiper even to the color of its legs. The great difference in size, however, prevents any confusion.

Two other sandpipers, referred to above, may, however, be mistaken for least or semipalmated sandpipers, although they are somewhat larger. Gunners at Ipswich used to call them “bull peep.” I refer to the white-rumped and the Baird sandpipers. The white rump of the former is diagnostic and is easily seen in flight, but is generally covered by the wings when the birds are running on the sand. The plumage of both Baird and white-rumped sandpipers is dark in front of the bend of the wing, while in the semipalmated and juvenal least it is light. This is a fine point that I have found of great value.

Fall: The last migrant for the north has scarcely gone before wisps of returning sandpipers appear. The regular northward migration in Massachusetts ceases about June 7, although an occasional nonbreeding bird may remain, and the migrants begin to return about July 4. A surprisingly large number of eyly fall migrants appeared at Ipswich on July 3, 1911. A flock of at least 50 whirled about and alighted near me on the marsh. One must. suppose that the early migrants in the spring are the early ones to return in the fall. They are generally all gone from the New England coast by the end of the first week in September. although stragglers may be found in October. They migrate both by day and by night.

Carl Lien writes in his notes from Destruction Island, Washing ton, that the least sandpiper: Constitutes, with the western snndidper, the great body of migratory birds, and if the nights are a little misty the numhers that circle around the light at nigh resemble a snow Storm, end they continue until daybreak when they apparently get their bearings, end continue their journey. Tbe spring movement begins about tile middle of April or a little later, and lasts until about the 10th of May, beginning again the first week in July and lasting until the middle of September.

Game: Fortunately this bird has been removed from the list of game by the Federal law, and we may be sure it will never be replaced. In the absence of larger birds: too frequently the case: the gunner used to shoot these tiny birds in large numbers, and it must be admitted they were delicious eating. At his blind near a slough or mud hole in the salt marshes he would arrange his flock of tin or wooden decoys, generally made to represent yellowlegs, within easy reach of his gun, and he would call down with his tin whistle any passing flock. A projecting spit of mud extending out into the little pool afforded a convenient alighting place for the “peep,~~ and their death trap, for here they could conveniently be raked by gun fire from the blind. The terrified and bewildered survivors spring into the air, and circling about over their dead and dying companions afford several more effective shots, which shower the victims down into the mud and water. Only a remnant of the flock escapes, to fall victims, perhaps, to their easy credulity at a neighboring blind. Sometimes the gunner in his greed would wait for the birds to hunch together closely on the spit, but before this took place to his satisfaction the alarm calls of a tattler or yellowlegs might ring out over the marsh and every bird would spring into the air and be off, much to his chagrin. Fortunately this destruction has not been carried too far. The law has stepped in before it is too late, as alas! may be the case with some of the larger shore birds. The increase of this species since the Federal law went into effect in 1913 is very striking. Mr. Philipp (1925) says there is “a large increase in this dainty shore bird. In 1907 an exhaustive search for breeding birds in the Magdalens resulted in finding 11 pairs. In 1923 in the same territory over 50 pairs were located with eggs or young.”

Range: North and South America; casual in Europe and Asia.

Breeding range: The least sandpiper breeds north to Alaska (Cape Blossom and the Kowak River); probably Yukon (Herschel Island) ; Mackenzie (Peel River, Fort Anderson, Rendezvous Lake, and Franklin Bay) southern Franklin (Cambridge Bay) ; Keewatin (Cape Fullerton); Labrador (Ramab); and Newfoundland (Quarry and Gaff Topsail). East to Labrador (Ramah, Okak, and Nain); Newfoundland (Quarry); and Nova Scotia (Sable Island). South to Nova Scotia (Sable Island) ; Quebec (Magdalen Islands); Keewatin (probably Fort Churchill) ; probably Saskatchewan (Isle de la Crosse); southern Mackenzie (probably Fort Simpson); southern Yukon (Teslin River and Lake Marsh); and southern Alaska (probably Gustavus Bay, and probably Kodiak). West to Alaska (probably Kodiak, Nushagak, Lake Aleknagik, and Cape Blossom).

Winter range: North to California (San Francisco Bay, Owens Lake, and Salton Sea); rarely Arizona (Mellen); Texas (Lomita and Decatur) ; rarely Louisiana (Vermilion Bay) ; Alabama (Dauphin Island) ; and rarely North Carolina (Pea Island). East to rarely North Carolina (Pea Island) ; South Carolina (near Charleston) ; Georgia (Savannah, Darien, and St. Marys) ; the Bahama Islands (Abaco, New Providence, San Salvador, Acklin, and Great Inagua Islands) ; probably the Lesser Antilles (St. Christopher); French Guiana (Cayenne); and Brazil (Para, Pernambuco, and Bahia). South to Brazil (Bahia and Cuyaba); and Peru (Chorillos and Tumbez). West to Peru (Tumbez); Ecuador (Santa Elena) ; the Galapagos Islands (Indefatigable Island) ; Costa Rica (La Estrella de Cartago and Puntarenas); Honduras (Chamelicon); Guatemala (Lake Atitlan and Chiapam); Jalisco (Zapotlan, La Barca, and Guadalajara) ; Sinaloa (Mazatlan) ; Lower California (San Jose del Cabo and Carmen Island); and California (Santa Barbara and San Francisco Bay).

Spring migration: Early dates of arrival are: Virginia, Back Bay, April 18; District of Columbia, Washington, April 19; Maryland, Cambridge, May 1; Pennsylvania, Mercer County, April 18, Butler, April 27, Cataract, May 2, Erie, May 8, and Pittsburgh, May 9; New Jersey, Cape May, April 4, CaIdwell, April 7, Princeton, April 30, and Camden, May 4; New York, Orient, April 21, New York City, April 25, Auburn, April 29, Canandaigua, May 4, and Rochester, May 9; Connecticut, Saybrook, May 3, and New Haven, May 8; Massachusetts, Woods Hole, April 23, Ipswich, April 24, Rehoboth, April 29, and~ Mononioy Island, May 6; Vermont, St. Johnsbury, May 6; Maine, Saco, May 5; Quebec, Quebec City, April 28, and Godbout, May 12: Nova Scotia, Halifax, April 20; Kentucky, Bowling Green, April 23, and Lexington, May 7; Missouri, Courtenay, April 1, Corning, April 5, and Independence, April 15; Illinois, De Kalb, April 6, Rantoul, April 9, and Milford, April 13; Indiana, Jeffersonville, April 5, Richmond, April 21, and Fort Wayne, April 22; Ohio, New Bremen, April 19, Painesville April 30, and Oberlin, May 5; Michigan, Vicksburg, April 30, Battle Creek, May 3, and Detroit, May 4; Ontario, Listowel, May 3, Toronto, May 4, Hamilton, May 8, and Ottawa, May 10; Iowa, Marshalltown, April 25, Emmetsburg, April 27, and Forest City, April 30; Wisconsin, Beloit, April 18, Whitewater, April 28, and Madison, May 7; Minnesota, Lake ‘Wilson, April 18, Heron Lake, April ’24, and ‘Waseca, April 30; Kansas, McPherson, April 9, Lawrence, April 24, and Wichita, April 28; Nebraska, Lincoln, March 21, Valentine, April 6, and Alda, April 10; South Dakota, Huron, April 8, Vermilion, April 20, and Pitrodie, April 22; North Dakota, Stump Lake, April 28, Jamestown, May 1, and Grafton, May 3; Manitoba, Gimli, May 6, and Shoal Lake, May 15; Saskatchewan, Orestwynd, May 7, Indian Head, May 12, and Diusmore, May 14; Mackenzie, Fort Providence, May 15, Fort Simpson, May 17, and Fort Resolution, May 19; Colorado, Durango, April 12, Loveland, April 19, and Barr, April 26; Utah, Bear River Marshes, May 10; ‘Wyoming, Cheyenne, April 23, and Laramie, April 23; Montana, Great Falls, April 16; Alberta, Carvel, May 6, and Flagstaff, May 9; Oregon, Narrows, April 16, Newport, April 21, and Klamath Lake, April 30; Washington, Tacoma, April 28, and Grays Harbor, April 30; British Columbia, Comox, April 20, Chilliwack, April 21, and Courtenay, April 22; and Alaska, Craig, May 2, Juneau, May 4, Bethel, May 6, and Kowak River, May 15.

Late dates of spring departure are: Porto Rico, Laguna de Guanica, May 26; Cuba, Mariel, May 10, and Santiago de las Vegas, May 14; the Bahama Islands, April 25; Florida, Punta Rassa, May 13, and St. Marks, May 28; Alabama, Bayou Labatre, May 16; Georgia, Savannah, May 17; South Carolina, Lady Island, May 12, and Aiken, May 14; North Carolina, Lake Ellis, May 18, and Raleigh, May 22; Pennsylvania, Erie, May 24, and Beaver, May 28; New Jersey, Bernardsville, May 20, Bloomfield, May 23, and Elizabeth, May 30; New York, Pine Plains, May 30, Rochester, May 31, and Orient, June 4; Connecticut, Norwalk, May 30, and New Haven, June 5; Massachusetts, Dennis, June 2, Harvard, June 9, and Pittsfield, June 16; Vermont, St. Johnsbury, June 6; New Hampshire, Manchester, June 3; Maine, Fryeburg, May 30, and Lewiston, June 6; Kentucky, Lexington, May 23; Chicago, May 23, and Port Byron, June 15; Indiana, Greencastle, May 26, and Lake County, June 1; Ohio, Columbus, May 21, Oberlin, May 23, and Youngstown, June 11; Michigan, Detroit, May 23, Sault Ste. Marie, May 26, and Manchester, May 29; Ontario, Listowel, May 23, Point Pelee, May 30, London, June 1, and Brighton, June 10; Iowa, Sioux City, May 30, Forest City, May 31, and Keokuk, June 2; Wisconsin, Berlin, May 24, Tomahawk, May 27, and Green Bay, June 4; Minnesota, Elk River, May 23, and ‘Walker, June 6; Texas, Seadrift, May 8, Ingram, May 10, and San Angelo, May 16; Kansas, Einporia, May 15, ‘Wichita, May 18, and Lawrence, May 21; Nebraska, Peru, May 15, Neligh, May 16, and Badger, May 18; South Dakota, Forestburg, May 21, Huron, May 23, and Yankton, May 25; North Dakota, Cando, May 24, and Charlson, June 1; Manitoba, Margaret, June 4, Reaburn, June 15, and Shoal Lake, June 20; Saskatchewan, Indian Head, May 23, and Osler, June 19; Colorado, Fort Lyon, May 29, and Barr, June 19; ‘Wyoming, Cheyenne, May 27; Montana, Terry, May 21, and Great Falls, June 3; Alberta, Flagstaff, June 1; Tepic, Las Penas Islands, May 5; Lower California, Rivera, April 21, and Gardners Lagoon, April 23; Californii~, Santa Barbara, May 10, Alameda, May 13, and Los Angeles, May 19; Oregon, Newport, May 20; Washington, Chelan, May 21, and Seattle, May 31; and British Columbia, Okanagan Landing, May 19.

Fall migration: Early dates of fall arrival ale: British Columbia, Atlin, June 29, Chilliwack, July 2, Okanagan Landing, July 3, and Courtenay, July 7; Washington, North Dalles, July 4, and Clallam Bay, July 17; Oregon, Silver Lake, July 1; California, Santa Barbara, July 18, and Bakersfield, July 19; Lower California, San Quentin, August 10; Alberta, Onoway, July 1; Wyoming, Fort Bridger, July 13, Utah, Provo, July 26; Colorado, Barr, July 5, Chihuahua, Pochaco, August 3; Saskatchewan, Isle de la Crosse, July 18; Manitoba, Victoria Beach, July 7, and Shoal Lake, July 27; North Dakota, Pembina, July 17, and Turtle Mountain, July 30; South Dakota, Forostburg, July 5, and Sioux Falls, July 24; Nebraska, Lincoln, July 14; Kansas, Emporia, August 6, and Osawatornie, August 31; Texas, Tom Green, and Concho Counties, July 20, and Tivoli, July 30; Minnesota, North Pacific Junction, July 8, Lanesboro, July 15, and St. Vincent, July 30; Wisconsin, Madison, July 11, North Freedom, July 14, and Madison, July 24; Iowa, Marshalltown, July 8, and Sioux City, duly 17; Ontario, Toronto, July 4; Michigan, Detroit, July 7, and Charity Island, July 10; Ohio, Bay Point, July 3, Painesville, July 8, and Youngstown, July 27; Illinois, Chicago, July 2, and Peoria, July 13; Kentucky, Lexington, July 16; Maine, Portland, July 23; New Hampshire, Manchester, July 10; Vermont, St. Johusbury, July 16, and Rutland, July 19; Massachusetts, Cape Cod, July 1, Ponkapog, July 16, and Dennis, July 25; Connecticut, New Havcn, July 14, and Kiantic, July 22; New York, Long Beach, July 3, Mastic, July 4, and Rochester, July 21; New Jersey, Tuckerton, July 3, Camden, July 7, and North Branch, July 8; Pennsylvania, Renovo, August 3, Beaver, August 11, Erie, August 13, and Pittsburgh, August 15; Maryland, Chesapeake Beach, August 16; South Carolina, Bulls Point, July 30; Georgia, Savannah, July 23; Alabama, Leighton, July 26; Florida, Palma Sola, July 9, James Island, July 20, and Pensacola, July 26; Bahama Islands, Long Island, July 16, Great Bahama, July 18, and Inagua, July 28; Cuba, Guantanamo, August 15, and Batabano, August 26; Jamaica, Port Henderson, August 2; Porto Rico, Mona Island, August 9, and Joyuda, August 28; Lesser Antilles, Barbuda, August 14, St. Vincent, August 20, and Trinidad, Xugust 22; and Venezuela, Bonaire, July 23, Macuto, August 2, and La Guaira, August 10. Late dates of fall departure are: Alaska, St. Paul Island, September 14; British Columbia, Chilliwack, September 11, and Okanagan Landing, September 15; Washington, Nisqually Flats, November 14; Oregon, Portland, September 7, Netarts Bay, September 11, and Tillamook, September 15; Montana, Corvallis, September 7; Utah, Ogden, October 8; Colorado, Denver, October 3, and Barr, October 5; Saskatchewan, Indian Head, September 4, and Rosetown, September 6; Manitoba, Aweme, September 26, and Margaret, October 3; North Dakota, Grafton, September 22; South Dakota, Forestburg, September 21, and Lacreek, September 29; Nebraska, Nebraska City, Ocixiber 10, and Lincoln, November 11; Oklahoma, Copan, October 16; Minnesota, Lanesboro, September 15; Iowa, Emmetsburg, September 23, Keokuk, September 24, and Marshalltown, October 12; Ontario, Kingston, September 29, Ottawa, October 12, and Point Pelee, October 15; Michigan, Detroit, October 6; Ohio, Columbus, October 22, Youngstown, October 29, and Cleveland, November 9; Illinois, De Kalb, October 9; Missouri, Courtenay, November 9; Tennessee, October 23; Nova Scotia, Pictou, October 8; Quebec, Montreal, October 20; Maine, Lewiston, October 16; Massachusetts, Lynn, October 4, Taunton, October 7, and Woods Hole, October 30; New York, Sayville, October 6, Ithaca, October 12, Canandaigua, October 14, and Brancbport, October 28; Maryland, Back River, November 3; and District of Columbia, Anacostia River, November 27.

Casual records: The least sandpiper has on a few occasions been detected outside of its normaf range. Among these occurrences are: Chile (no definite locality [Salvin]) ; Greenland (Disko Fjord, August, 1878, Noursoak Peninsula, spring of 1867, and Frederikshaab, July, 1857); England (Cornwall, October 1853, and September, 1890, and Devonshire, September, 1869, and August, 1892); and northeastern Siberia (Belkoffsky, July 23, 1880, and Plover Bay, August 13, 1880).

Egg dates: Magdalen Islands: 79 records, June 3 to 30; 40 records, June 8 to 17. Labrador and Newfoundland: 13 records, June 7 to July 1; 7 records, June 15 to 25. Arctic Canada: 14 records, June 14 to July 8; 7 records, June 27 to July 1.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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