Breeding as far north as northern Greenland, the Ruddy Turnstone is truly an arctic breeder. Long distances are traveled during migration to the east and west coasts of North America as well as points farther south. Female Ruddy Turnstones migrate first in the fall, even before chicks have fledged, followed by males after chicks have fledged, with juvenile birds bringing up the rear.
The high latitude, remote breeding areas of the Ruddy Turnstone makes study difficult. It is known that recently fledged young birds are very vulnerable to avian predators, and that Ruddy Turnstones generally do not breed until age two or even older. The oldest known Ruddy Turnstone in the wild was nearly 20 years old.
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Description of the Ruddy Turnstone
The Ruddy Turnstone is a chunky shorebird with a black bib on white underparts and orange legs. Orange and black upperparts. Black and white head. Length: 10 in. Wingspan: 21 in.
Sexes similar but females duller.
Seasonal change in appearance
Winter birds have brownish-black upperparts and heads.
Juveniles resemble winter adults.
Mudflats and beaches.
Insects, crustaceans, and mollusks.
Forages by turning over stones and shells.
Ruddy Turnstones breed in northern Alaska, Canada, and Greenland and winter along the coasts of the U.S., Mexico, and Central America. They also occur in Europe and Russia.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Ruddy Turnstone.
Ruddy Turnstones often return to the same breeding and wintering areas in subsequent years.
Ruddy Turnstones defend feeding areas around them by jabbing at approaching birds with their bills.
A low rattle is given.
- Black Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstones are distinctive.
Black Turnstones are darker above.
The nest is a depression on the ground.
Number: 4. ?
Color: Olive with darker markings.
Incubation and fledging:
– Young hatch at 22-24 days. ?
– Young fledge (leave the nest) shortly after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.
Bent Life History of the Ruddy Turnstone
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 Ruddy Turnstone – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.
ARENABIA INTERPRES (Linnucus)
The above species is cosmopolitan; it has a circumpolar breeding range, and its migrations extend over nearly all of the Northern Hemisphere and a large part of the Southern. It has been split into two, or possibly three, geographical races. In the author’s opinion only two races should be recognized; the Palaearctic form, inter pres, averages slightly larger, and is decidedly darker, the black predominating over the rufous on the upper parts; the Nearetic form, movinella, averages slightly smaller, is decidedly lighter, the rufous predominating on the upper parts; these two races are well marked and are generally recognized. The Pacific race has been described under the name oahuensis, from specimens taken on Oahu Island in the Hawaiian group. It is supposed to breed in Alaska and spend the winter in the Hawaiian and other Pacific islands. It seems to be strictly intermediate, both in size and color, between interpres and inorindlla. Some of the best authorities have not recognized it in nomenclature, which seems to be a wise course. For the purpose of this life history the species as a whole will be considered.
Spring: The northward migration of the ruddy turnatone through the United States is accomplished mainly during May, but many linger along through the first week in June. I have seen turnstones in Louisiana as late as June 17 and 23, but some that I shot were immature birds, apparently 1 year old, which probably would not breed that season. Arthur T. Wayne (1910) has seen high plumaged birds in South Carolina on June 11 and 12, which were doubtless late migrants; but he says that birds in immature or winter plumage are seen in June more frequently than adults. These latter illustrate the well-established fact that many shore birds do not attain their full plumage and do not breed during their first year, but remain within their winter ranges or far south of their breeding ranges all summer.
Many observers have stated that turnstones do not migrate in large flocks in the spring, but I have seen some very large flocks on Cape Cod containing several hundred. On the coast of New Jersey during the latter part of May, 1927, we saw a wonderful flight of this and other shore birds; on the 20th we counted 3.600 turnstones, on the 26th 4,500, on the 27th 5,000, and on the 28th 7,000; many of these were in immense flocks of this species only, but more often they were associated in large flocks with black-bellied plovers; one enormous flock of the two species was estimated to contain 3,500 birds.
The main migration route is along the sea coast. Migrants have been known to reach Massachusetts as early as May 1, and my latest date is June 5; but the main flight comes during the latter half of May. Dr. ‘IV. Elmer Ekblaw tells me that it reaches its breeding grounds in northwestern Greenland during the first week in June.
There is a regular migration northward through the interior, but in much smaller numbers. Pierce Brodkorb and Frank Grasett give me dates for northeastern Illinois from April 30 to June 18. ‘We collected specimens in Nelson County, N. Dak., on June 5, and at Lake Winnipegosis, Manitoba, on June 1 and 2; but we did not record the species at all during the two seasons spent in southwestern Sas-. katchewan. Prof. William Rowan tells me that it is rare in his section of Alberta. The route is evidently northward from Manitoba through the Athabaska-Mackeuzie region. Samuel F. Rathbun has sent me the following notes on the former abundance of turnstones in Manitoba:
In that Province we spent the greater part of the spring and summer of 1889, aad on one occasion went to Lake Manitoba driving as directly as possible across what was then all unsettled country. We clambered up one of the dunes and looked over its top, and right in front of us end up and down the beach almost as far as could be seen, were countless numbers of shore birds. On the sands nearly all of these were in constant motion, while over the surface of the lake flocks were flying to and fro. By far the greater number of the birds were turastones and the flocks of these were always very large. I hesitate to give my estimate of the number seen, but I made many counts and forming a rough guess from these Judged at the time that there must have been somewhere near eight or ten thousand of the tnrnstones. And I have always believed this estimate to be somewhere near correct. This was on the 30th of May and it may have been that we were fortunate to have barq~ned to witness the height of the movement of these birds.
The ruddy turnstone is a rather uncommon migrant on the Pacific coast in April and May. Mr. Rathbun says in his notes that it: appears to be a regular spring migrant along the ocean coast of Washington, first being seen in early May. The earlier birds seem to arrive in small numbers, to be followed by flocks of fair size, but at no time are Ihe turustones as common as are most of the other species of shore birds that migrate along the coast.
From its winter home in Australia the turnstone makes an early start for its long flight over the ocean; W. B. Alexander tells me that his latest record is of a pair seen April 25. 1914, on the estuary of the Lost River on the south coast of western Australia. The Pacific form of the turnstone has been named oaltuensis from a specimen Uiken on the island where Honolulu is situated. The birds leave the Hawaiian Islands in May and probably make a 2,000-mile flight over the Pacific Ocean to the Commander and Aleutian Islands. Dr. Leonhard Stejneger (1885) says that they make their appearance in the Commanders “early in May (in 1883 the first ones were observed on the 7th), and the beach, especially on the north shore of Bering Island, fairly swarms with them. In June they disappear, and only a few remain during the summer.” In his notes from Hooper Bay, Alaska, H. B. Conover says: “On May 15 Du Fresne shot the first bird of this species. He had found it sitting humped up on a log showing through the snow. The next day a pair was seen, and after that date they were noticed constantly. On May 28 the migration still must have been going on, as a flock of about 20 was seen mixed with 6 golden plover.”
Courtship: Doctor Ekblaw has sent me the following notes:
The ruddy turnstone Is almost if not quite as common as the ringed plover along the beaches and about the gravelly moraines and terraces of northwest Greenland. It comes to the land the first week in June, frequenting the drifts of kelp along the shore when the ice foot has melted away. There they probe about the shells and seaweed, turning the long drifts over to a depth of 3 inches. Where they have worked, the shore looks as if a drove of tiny pigs had rooted about.
They begin mating as soon as they arrive, and many a bitter struggle and amorous courtship takes place among these birds during the first two weeks of June. The males outnumber the females, so the rivalry is keen. As the lowering sun of the day sinks nearest the midnight horizon the wooing antics are at the height. Frequently two males pursue the same female, seeking to win her favor, the while they are combating one another for the advantage. In giddy, reckless flight they sweep back and forth along the shore, rarely rising more than 3 feet above the beach, usually but a foot. When alighted the pursuit is just ns eager, the female racing about to escape the insistent attentions of the males, the males eagerly pursuing her and struggling between themselves for supremacy. The more pugnacious usually wins out, though the other never gives up hope.
The Rev. F. C. R. Jourdain contributes the following notes on the subject:
A study of the published records of the breeding habits of the turnstone discloses the fact that practically nothing has ever been written on the courtship and song of this species. The only apparent exception is a passage by A. Trevor-Battye (1893), who says: “This lovely bird has a far more elaborate song than that of any wader I know. You really may call it a song. I put It down at the time as chewah~, chewaA, ch,ewecki, 1ci-kt~-ki kee kee, and he sings it con. arnore from any little mound.” My first experience with the turnstone dates back to 1921, when with Mr. A. H. Paget Wilkes we found the nests of some 19 pairs In Spitsbergen. It was then late in the breeding season; every pair had Incubated eggs or young, but directly one arrived within range of a breeding pair the cock would fly out to meet us and greet us with his little challenge song. As a rule attempts to describe the notes of birds by means of letters are chiefly remarkable for their discrepancies, but If Mr. Paget Wilkes’s version of the ‘ïattack note” Is compared with that of Mr. Trevor-Battye, the resemblance Is striking, tche-wick . . . tsch.c-unck, tclie-wi-i-i–i-i-i-ck. Obviously the two “songs” are the same, yet we heard this challenge daily from birds far advanced In Incubation and even with newly hatched young. It continued as long as we remained in the neighborhood of the nest, and was sometimes repeated in a weaker form by the female. When the young were being brooded by the male and the female was on guard this challenge note was uttered by her. There is, of course, a strong element of challenge in all bird song, and the turastone is a born fighter. No foe is too formidable to be attacked and driven off. It Is most amusing to see a male chasing a bird ten times as big as himself and returning complacently to his sentry duty until the approach of another probable enemy brings him again to the attack.
There is little doubt that all the “singing” males met with by Trevor-Battye were really breeding birds defending the territories and, as they fondly Imagined, driving him away. Of course the cheery little cliirrup of the turnstone has no claim to musical excellence in spite of Trevor-Battye’s exaggerated praIse; no one could possibly compare It to the sweet wild notes of the curlew or even the flutelike notes of the purple sandpiper. Apparently in this species the fighting Instinct has replaced the tendency to display on the wing before the female; and while many other waders utter musical notes during the love flight the turastone reserves his for the attack.
Nesting: Comparatively few nests of the ruddy turnstone have ever been found, as the bird nests in the far north, where few ornithologists have been. A set of three eggs in my collection, taken by Capt. Joseph Bernard on Taylor Island, Victoria Land, on August 1, 1917, possibly a second laying, was in a hollow on the tundra. MacFarlane found only two sets on the lower Anderson River, which were precisely similar to those of the other waders, consisti ngof a few withered leaves placed in a depression in the grollnd, each containing four eggs. Eggs collected by Rev. A. R. bare at Point Hope, Alaska, were laid “in depressions on mossy ridges of the tundra.” Herbert W. Brandt has sent me the following notes on the nesting habits of these birds in Alaska:
At Hooper Bay the ruddy turnstone like the Indigenous plovers is an opennesting bird and It depends for concealment of its eggs upon the similarity of the shell coloration to Its surroundings. Near a limpid pool in the low-rolling dunes the bird makes a shallow, circular depression in the brownish green, velvetlike moss and this it lines, haphazardly, with a few moss stems and often with small crisp leaves of low-creeping woody plants. The range of measurements of five nests Is: Inside diameter, 39~ to 4½ inches; Inside depth, 1 to I ‘,~ Inches; and depth over all Is 1 to 194 inches. The pied parents follow the habits of the open-nesting birds, for they are wild and unapproachable while breeding; so that in spite of Its exposed location the nest is anything but easy to find. Incubation patches were present on both sexes and they did not employ, to lure the intruder from the nesting area, the usual wounded tacticS of the other shore birds.
In the Eastern Hemisphere numerous nests have been found and considerable has been published on the subject. Henry J. Pearson (1904), during his three summers in Russian Lapland, found several nests of the turnstone. On June 13, 1899, on Little Heno Island, he found a nest with four fresh eggs on a low sand spit. “The nest was placed in a patch of dwarf sallow, 10 inches high, and near the edge of a bank, the slight depression being lined with a few dry grasses and dead leaves.” Another nest was found on June 27 on Great Heno. After watching the bird in vain for a long time on “a bare stretch of peat, with scarcely a scrap of vegetation and full of puffin holes,” they returned the next day and flushed the turnstone out of a puffin hole; “and there was a nest 18 inches from the mouth, containing three eggs more than half incubated; a few dead sorrel stalks had been taken in to form the nest.” On June 19, 1901, on Medveji Island, a nest was found “placed under a large overhanging shelf of peat, in such a position that the bird could slip on and off in two different directions according to that from which danger was threatened. The young were formed in the four incubated eggs.” He refers to two other nests found on a sand spit, which were “on the open ground with no protection beyond a few blades of grass.~~
W. C. Hewitson (185~) found a nest on the coast of Norway on “a flat rock, bare except where here and there grew tufts of grass, or stunted juniper clinging to its surface”; the nest ” was placed against a ledge of the rock, and consisted of nothing more than the drooping leaves of the juniper bush, under a creeping branch of which the eggs, four in number, were snugly~ concealed.” A number of nests of the turnstone were found by the Oxford expedition to Spitsbergen, about which A. H. Paget-Wilkes (1922) has given us considerable information. He says that “in spite of the presence of large and small boulders and stones the turnstone in Spitsbergen does not lay its eggs under the shelter of this somewhat scanty cover or in the small boles or pockets in the soil, but chooses perfectly open and bare, wind-swept places for its breeding sites.” Some seven nests were found on islands and one of these is described as “a very flat depression among small stones on a small ridge of dry, red mud.” Other nests were scattem~ed along the shore at intervals of about three-quarters of a mile; but in one l)lace five or six pairs were nesting within a radius of half a mile. One nest was on a little island of hard mud, only three yards by two yards in a stream. The turnstones are very active and aggressive in defending their nests against the jaegers; these marauders are persistently harried, desperately attacked, and finally driven away.
Ralph Chislett (1925) gives an interesting account of finding the turnstone breeding on a Baltic isle, where the nests were hidden among the dense herbage. lie says:
Against the sky, not more than 30 yards away, appearing over the top of a rise in the ground, as seen from the hiding tent, was a group of chervil flower beads. One of the turnstones, on taking wing, flew directly to these flower heads and appeared to settle in the midst of them. After giving the bird time to get settled on the eggs (I hoped) I crawled out of the tent, and keeping low was within 6 yards of the chervil Clump when the turustone took wing from a poInt 2 yards on the other side, repeating its cry much more menningly than hitherto. I had been prepared to find the nest under shelter of some sort, but had not expected the eggs to be so completely hidden from view as proved to be the case here. The nest lay on the seaward side of the clump. To obtain a view for the camera, a tall chervil stalk, some leaves, and grasses had to be removed. The definite scrape was lined with bits of seaweed and dry grass stems to a depth of more then 1 inch.
Eggs: Mi~. Brandt has sent me the following good description of the turnstone’s eggs collected by his party in Alaska:
The ruddy turnatone lays four eggs and these may justly claim rank as some of the handsomest of all the delightful Hooper Bay limicoline series. They are subpyrlform to ovate in shape and lie points together In the shallow nest. The shell is glossy and smooth and is quite strong. The markings seldom cover more than half the area of the eggs and in consequence the ground color is prominent. The latter is quite variable, reaging from “yellowish glaucous” to “olive huff” and even “deep olive buff.” The surface markings are usually bold and are most heavily concentrated on the larger end, but one striking type Is known for its beautiful marbled effect as the spots which are large and clouded softly fade into the glossy ground color. These spots are irregular in outline and are often slightly elongate, twisting Into a pronounced clockwise spiral. The usual color of the primary spots is “warm sepia,” but In the greenish setting they are “olive brown” while in the marbled type “citrine drab” Is the prevailing shade. When the underlying markings are given prominence their soft tones add to the beauty of the eggs. The colors of these partially hidden ornaments range from “pale mouse gray” to “mouse gray.” The additional markings of brownish black to black are sparsely scattered over the larger part of the egg usually in the form of small spots or pen-like scratches. The vitality of the shore birds is attested by the fact that four turnstone’s eggs laid in four days weigh 2½ ounces, while the parent bird herself weighs but 3½ ounces.
Most of the turnstone’s eggs that I have seen are easily recognizable, though the distinctive features are more easily seen than described. The markings are usually quite evenly distributed and tile egg well covered with them. The 12 eggs so ~vell illustrated on Frank Poynting’s (1895) beautiful plate, all taken from European eggs, show some variations not mentioned by Mr. Brandt. The buffy ground colors range from “dark olive buff” to “olive buff”; and the greenish ones from “water green “to “yellowish glaucous.” One plain-looking egg is “dark olive buff” with faint markings of a slightly darker shade. Another is ” water green” with numerous, small, almost black spots, and underlying small spots of “light mouse gray.” The measurements of 100 European eggs furnished by the Rev. F. C. E. Jourdain, average 40.5 by 29.2 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 44.5 by 30.4, 43.2 by 31.3, 36 by 28.2 and 40.5 by 26 millimeters. Mr. Brandt’s 44 eggs, from Alaska, average slightly smaller, 39 by 28 millimeters; the extremes of his and all other American and Greenland eggs that I have measurements of fall within the limits given above for European eggs. Egg measurements would seem to indicate that Alaska birds should be referred to nvorinella, the smaller race.
Young: The period of incubation does not seem to be known, but it is a well-established fact that both sexes share in this duty, as well as in the care of the young. Mr. Paget-Wilkes (1922) says: Both sexes incubate, but when the eggs are fresh or partly Incubated the hen seems to brood and the cock stands on guard. When the eggs were within a day or two of hatching or were Just chipping we invariably found the cock incubating, and when the young were out we always found the cock looking after the famny and the hen, with her duller plumage and weaker notes, on guard. These characteristics observed in the cases of 19 pairs should form a useful basis for further research.
On flushing the cock hird from four young in down on the Mouettes Islands I was shown an example of his tenacity and intelligence. I had taken the young birds away in my pocket and had run back to the boat across a neck of land some 800 yards broad. The cock chased me a little way and then disappeared. On reaching the sea, however, on the other side of the small peninsula, I imn~ediately saw the cock fly around the point and make straight for moe, and he stood and chattered at me until we rowed away in the boat. The hen put in no appearance at all.
Again, on one of the islands we watched a pair whose behavior puzzled us, but soon discovered that there were four young bird’s being looked after by the cock. The moment he was flushed the young birds scattered in all directions, and on our lying down again came back under the fatherly wing. Before I discovered that the cock incubated in the last stages I patiently watched a hen running about quite unconcernedly for almost an hour, and then suddenly jumped to the conclusion that the cock was sitting. When I got up the hen gave the alarm note and I flushed the cock from four chipping eggs.
A. L. V. Manniche (1910) writes:
The parents are very watchful against danger in the breeding time and when the young ones are small. One of them will keep a lookout from the summit of a large stone or a rock while the other is brooding or guiding the young ones. The bird on guard will discover an approaching enemy at an Incredibly lung distance and rush toward him uttering furious cries. Especially the skua (Lestris Zommgicaedsm) is a detested enemy of the turastone. Every day I could observe the hunting skuas pursued by turnstones. When one pursuer returned to Its district another would appear and thus every skua was almost always accompanied by at least one turastone. Also toward the polar fox the turnstones would betray great fear, and they would often join from afar and swoop down on the hated enemy, uttering their sharpest and most violent cries.
Toward the end of July the young ones were able to fly but were, however, generally accompanied by the old female. The young ones would often resort to the upper part of rather high rocks while the old female incessantly crying and anxiously flapping tried to divert my attention from them. When the old female had left her offspring and the country, these would immediately take to the coast and the mouths of rivers like other young waders.
Plumages: The young turnstone in natal down is not brilliantly, yet distinctively, colored. The upper parts, including the sides of the head and neck, wings and thighs, vary from “cream buff” or “chamois” on the crown and wings to “olive buff” on the neck and flanks. The crown, back, wings, rump, and thighs are heavily spotted or broadly striped with black; the center of the crown is largely black and so are the lores; a broad space above the eyes and the forehead are “cream buff,” with a black streak in the middle of the latter. There is some whitish in the center of the back and the entire under parts are pure white.
In full juvenal plumage, Alaska birds in July, the crown and mantle are dark sepia or blackish brown, the feathers of the crown edged with sandy brown, those of the back broadly edged with “pinkish buff ” or “cream buff ” and the wing coverts still more broadly edged with “cinnamon buff”; the tertials are edged with “cinnamon “; the feathers of the rump, the tail coverts, and the tail are tipped with a buffy wash; the under parts are similar in pattern to those of the adult, but the black patches are browner and often show buffy tips. The sexes are practically alike in juvenal and winter plumages.
The first winter plumage is acquired by a partial body molt between August and November; it can be distinguished from the adult winter plumage by the presence of some retained tertials, scapulars, and wing coverts; also it is not so uniformly dark as the adult, is more streaked with huffy and whitish edgings on the head, neck, and back, and it has less black in the gorget. The two races are distinguishable in this plumage, i>nterpre8 being darker.
The first prenuptia.l molt begins in January; it is similar to that of the adult but is much less complete. I have seen a young bird in full wing molt in January and think that young birds renew their flight feathers before the first spring. The first nuptial plumage is, I believe, a nonbreeding plumage, as it is worn by birds which spend the summer far south of the breeding range. I have seen birds in this plumage, collected in Florida and Louisiana, in every month from April to August. This plumage resembles the adult nuptial, but the head is more streaked with dusky or black; and in the mantle, scapulars and wing coverts there is a mixture of new rufous feathers and both old and new blackish brown feathers. The sexes are recognizable in this plumage, the males being much brighter. A complete molt in August produces the adult winter plumage.
Adults have a complete postnuptial molt, from July to October, but mainly in August, when the wings are molted. They have a partial prenuptial molt from February to June, mainly in March and April., involvinrz the body plumage, but not all the scapulars or wing coverts.
Food: The turnstone is mainly a maritime species and its favorite feeding wounds are the stony and sandy beaches along the seashore and the rocky promontories and islets on the coasts. But on its inland migrations it finds its food on the shores and beaches of the larger lakes and rivers. The turnstone derives its name from its well-known and conspicuous habit of turning over, with its short, stout bill and sturdy muscles, stones, shells, clods of earth, seaweed, and other objects in search for the dainty morsels of animal food that it finds beneath them. If the object is not too large the bird stoops down and overturns it with a quick jerk of the head and neck; but against a larger obstacle it places its breast and pushes with all its strength; it is surprising to see how large a stone or clod it can move. It also has a peculiar habit of rooting like a pig in piles of seaweed or in the open sand. Windrows of seaweed and other rubbish are generally full of sand fleas and various worms and insects and their larvae, where the turnstones and other waders find an abundant feast. Frank T. Noble (1904) has described this very well, as follows:
He would select a likely spot on the loosely packed moss and go at his work with a vim and rapidity entirely different from the other species. Underneath the bits of weed, moss, and fragments of shell his sharp upturned bill would swiftly go and a perfect shower of these would soon be falling in front and beside him. Finding a morsel to his taste he would devour It In much less time than it takes to relate It, and the rooting and tossing of the bits into the air would continue. At times quite sizeable fragments of shell and pieces of moss more tban an inch In length would be thrown fully 7 or 8 inches above the bird’s head, and this he would keep up, with scarcely an inslant’s pause, for a quarter of an hour and until he had excavated a pit large enough to almost conceal his plump, mottled body. Occasionally be woul(l turn about in his tracks, but as a rule he worked In one direction.
I have seen a similar method employed on a sand flat laid bare at low tide, where four or five turnstones were feeding, accompanied by sanderlings and peeps. The turnstones were digging holes in the wet sand, throwing out the sand for a distance of several inches, until the holes were big enough to admit the whole of a man’s fist and deep enough to conceal the bird’s head and neck. Meantime the sanderlings were standing close by and picking up some small objects thrown out, until driven away by savage attacks of the turnstone. On close examination I found a number of small, black snails and other minute mollusks in the sand thrown out. The stomach of one shot contained only the minute mollusks and some coarse sand.
Doctor Stejueger (1885) found turnstones feeding in large numbers on the killing grounds in the Commander Islands, “where thousands of putrified carcasses of the slain fur seals swarm with myriads of the white larvae of the flesh fly,” on which they grow very fat. Francis H. Allen tells me he has seen them feeding on rocks which are bare only at low tide and covered with barnacles. One that he watched: sometimes simply picked its food up from among the barnacles and rockweed, and sometimes it hammered away in one spot like a woodpecker before getting its morsel. The object hammered was evidently fixed. After the bird had flown, I visited the spot and found many empty barnacle shells: empty of barnacles, that Is: some entirely empty and others containing small snail-like mollusks with dark-colored shells.
On the coast of South Carolina I have seen turnstones feeding on the beds of coon oysters and have watched them busily engaged in chasing the small fiddler crabs on the muddy banks of tidal creeks and on the mud lumps; they had to run very fast to catch the spry little animals and probably had to pick out the smallest ones. Mr. Wayne (1910) says: “On Capers Island it frequents live oak trees which are covered with small mussels, upon which it eagerly feeds. If some of the mussels happen to be on an inclined limb the birds walk, instead of flying, to reach them. I have seen as many as four of these, one behind the other, on a small limb out in the surf.” Mr. Manniche (1910) says that just after their arrival in Greenland the turnstones feed mainly on vegetable food; the stomach of a bird taken on May 22 contained only remains of plants. Dr. Paul Bartsch (1922), referring to his visit to Midway Island, writes: “It ~vas a decided surprise to us to find waders in bushes feeding upon berries, and yet this was the case here. Again and again we flushed bunches of turnstones from the dense Scaevola thickets and watched them circle about for some time, only to realight in the tops of another clump of bushes. Specimens shot on Sand Island were filled with ,S’caevola berries.~~
C. J. Maynard (1896) says that they sometimes resort to marshes and feed on grasshoppers. Their main food supply evidently consists of small crustaceans, small mollusks, insects, and their larvae, all of which they consume in large quantities and in great variety. In Massachusetts it is sometimes called the “horse-foot snipe,” be.cause of its fondness for the eggs of the horse-foot crab. John T. Nichols tells me that it scratches up the eggs by “jumping in the air and striking with both its feet at once into the sand, thus making a hole about 3 inches deep and 1½ inches across.”
Dr. Alexander Wetinore contributes the following interesting notes:
The greatest surprise came when on Laysan Island it was found that these and other shore birds were persistent enemies of the sooty and graybacked terns, as they destroyed the eggs of the teros at every opportunity. For the first few days when turastones were seen greedily eating terns’ eggs I supposed that they were merely finishing eggs that had been opened by other birds, but on further observation found that these shore birds were bold marauders that drove their bills into the eggs of terns at every opportunity and were only prevented from attacking the nests of boobies and man-o-war birds by the fact that the shell of the egg in these species was so hard that they could not break it. As we moved through the great colonies of sooty terns the birds near at hand rose before us from their eggs, often communicating the alarm to neighbors so that at times clouds of birds arose to fill the air. At our heels, 15 or 20 feet behind us, came little groups of turnstones well aware that this uproar among the sharp-beaked terns meant unprotected nests, where they could attack the eggs xvith impunity. The turastones ran quickly about driving their bills into the eggs without the slightest hesitation, breaking open the side widely and feeding eagerly on the contents, sometimes two or three gathering for an instant to demolish one egg and then with this one half consumed running on to attack another. The havoc wrought among the terns was so great that ~ve forbade the sailors from approaching the colonies, and made it a rule among the naturalists to keep away except when necessity for some observation made it imperative to disturb the birds.
The densely packed colonies of aggressive sooty terns were open to attack mainly along the borders except when the birds were disturbed, but the little scattered groups of gray-backed terns (Sterna lunate) on the open beaches were entirely at the mercy of the turnstuues, so that it seemed that the gentle terus could not hope for a successful nesling until the close of May carried the horde of their marauding persecutors away to northern homes. So bold were the shore birds that on one occasion I saw two actually push aside the Leathers on the sides of the incubating tern, drag her egg from beneath her breast, and lrocced to open and devour it within 0 inches of the nest. The tern remained in incubating pose, plainly troubled by such unexpected boldness but seemingly not comprehending Its portent, nodding her head with that of her mate standing beside her, and finally reaching out to draw the half-empty shell of her treasure again beneath her, while the robbers, temporarily satisfied, pattered away in search of other prey. On several occasions when, in walking along the beaches above high-tide mark I flushed gray-backed teras from their nests, I saw that they carried with them as they flew away shells of broken eggs, which not understanding that they had been destroyed they had covered while the hardening albumen flowing over the outside of the shell had glued the whole to their feathers.
The Rev. F. C. R. Jourdain contributes the following notes on the food of this species:
As it is almost invariably found near the coast the food is chiefly marine in character: Mollusca, chiefly small univalves such as Litoriaa (L. Florence records 134 opercula of small molluseks) small Crustaces, especially Gainmaridae; A. H. Clark records fry of a small fish (Sicydium plumieri) up to 1½ inches in length; insects, Including Coleoptera, Diptera (Tipuli4ae and larvae of CAironomidee), Lepidoptera (ArgynnLs charidee and Desychira pro enlandica recorded by H. C. Hart and Hunsenopt era. Also Arachnida and Acaridea (Feilden). Also some vegetable matter (seeds of Draba alpina, pieces of seaweed, etc.).
Behavior: When migrating turnstones fly in large flocks by themselves or with black-bellied plovers, often in immense flocks; at such times they usually fly high. But, while sojourning on the way, they are usually in small numbers and very often seen singly. One or two birds are often associated with mixed flocks or scattered gatherings of semipalmated plover, sanderlings, or other small waders. Their flight is strong, swift, and steady, usually direct, but sometimes in a semicircle, out from the shore and back again; when not traveling they generally fly low. There is something peculiar about their flight which can be recognized at a long distance, but I can not describe it satisfactorily. They are essentially shore birds, frequenting the stony, rocky, or sandy beaches of the seashore or the larger lakes. They are not particularly shy, and sometimes very tame. When they first alight they stand and survey the landscape until sure that they are safe. They then mingle freely with the other small waders, feeding unconcernedly, and treating their companions with indifference until one comes too near. Then the turnstone shows its jealous and pugnacious disposition; it will allow no competition, in the spol where it is feeding, from another bird, even of its own species, but with lowered head, drooping wings, and hunched up back it rushes at the intruder in a threatening attitude and perhaps gives him a few jabs with its sharp bill. Many a miniature cockfight or sham battle is enacted and the turnstone is generally the aggressor, though once I saw a ~anderling drive away a turnstone. It appears like a big bully that is attracted to the feast that others have found and then is unwilling to share it with them.
Turnstones can swim well and probably alight on the water to rest while making long flights over the ocean. Dr. Donald B. MacMillan (1918) saw “a large flock alight upon the water in Kennedy Channel.” They love to bathe in shallow water, squatting down and fluttering their wings, sometimes partly rolling over; then they spend much time preening and dressing their pretty plumage. N. B. Viocre nays in his notes that ” this species alights on the dead branches of mangroves, stumps, and stakes that stand in the water near the shore from 2 to 6 feet above it and sits in the manner of a Carolina dove.”
Voice: Jobn T. Nichols has contributed the following on the ordinary notes of the turnstone:
The common flight note of this species Is an unloud polysyllabic one, something like a cackle, which does not carry far. It Is usually given by birds that are leaving the vicinity, but not so frequently beard at other times as are the flight notes of various species. This note is sometimes three syllabled, ketakek, or may he of a single syllable, kek, on taking wing. A much rarer, loud, ploverlike kfk-kyu has been heard from a turnstone when coming to decoys or flying along the edge of favorable marshes. The cackle of the turastone is almost impossible to imitate, but they will decoy readily to a whistled Imitation of the cry of their associate the black-bellied plover.
The song of the turnstone as heard on its breeding grounds few have been privileged to hear. Mr. Brandt calls it “a loud hut not unplensont note, rapidly repeated: leye-ute-cat-tat-tah..” Mr. Jourdam has given us, under courtship, his impressions of it and those of Messrs. Trevor-Battye and Paget-Wilkes.
Field marks: The turnstone is a conspicuous and well-marked bird, not likely to be mistaken for anything else. It is a stout, shortlegged bird with a short neck and a short, straight bill. In its brilliant spring plumage the white head, black throat, red legs, and rufous back are unique field marks. But the best field marks, most conspicuous in the nuptial plumage, but present in all plumages, are the five white stripes on the upper surface, which show very plainly as the bird flies away; these are a broad central stripe on the back, separated by a black patch on the rump from the white area in the tail, a narrow stripe on the outer edge of the scapulars and a band across the wing on the secondaries and primaries. Unfortunately for observers on the Pacific coast, the black turnstone has somewhat similar white stripes, but the pattern is a little different.
Fall: Adult turnstones begin to leave their summer homes in Greenland about the middle of July, with the knots and sanderlings, and before the end of August the last of the young birds have left. Lucien M. Turner obtained an adult from Davis Inlet on July 25; but the species apparently avoids Ungava, for the only bird he saw there was a young male taken on August 20. Probably the birds which breed in western Greenland migrate coastwise along the Labrador coast and Nova Scotia to New England. We saw the first turnstones at Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, on July 30 and 31; but my earliest record for adults in Massachusetts is on August 1; adults are common here all through August; the young birds come along late in August, and I have seen them here as late as October 12.
There is a heavy migration down the west coast of Hudson Bay. Edward A. Preble (1902) saw the first turnstones at Fort Churchill on July 30; and on August 10 to 13 he “observed many small flocks about 25 miles south of Cape Eskimo”; August 21 to 26 he saw “many flocks daily.” From the Hudson Bay region the main flight seems to be southeastward through the Great Lakes region to the Atlantic coast. It seems to be very rare in the fall west of eastern Manitoba and Ohio; and it extends as far east as the J3erinudas and the West Indies.
Some of the birds which breed in Alaska migrate down the Pacific coasts of North and South America at about the same dates as the Atlantic coast birds; but large numbers pass down the Asiatic coast, through Japan and China, to islands in the Southern Hemisphere. Doctor Stejneger (1885) says that in the Commander Islands during the latter part of July large flocks return from the north.
From this time until late autumn enormous masses of them may be seen on the killing grounds, near the seal rookeries, where thousands of putrllled carcasses of the slain fur seals swarm with myriads of the white larvae of the flesh fly, upon which the pretty turastones feed and grow exceedingly fat. At sunset they retire to the beach, where they pass the night, not, however, without having performed a soldierlike drill by flying up and down the endless tundra, now in full body, now again in detached divisions, and with admirable precisIon turning and maneuvering as if obeying the command of a leading officer.
As to the migration on the Pribilof Islands, William Palmer (1899) writes:
On July 12, 1890, I saw probably the first bird that landed on St. Paul during the fall migration. From that date they daily increased rapidly until by the end of July they swarmed everywhere. They reach the island by way of the northeastern shore and In straggling flocks or singly fly southward through the island during the day, banking up in large numbers when the village killing ground Is reached. They spread out on the slopes, resting on the rocks and little hillocks during the day. They soon find the feast awaiting them on the killIng ground, and the marks of their work around nearly every seal carcass Is soon noticeable. As the water disappears by sonkage and evaporation In the village pood they turn up the black sand in thousands of little hillocks, each with a narrow depression made by their bill beside it. At low tide the lagoon beaches are a favorite resting and feeding place. By the end of July many become so fat that they are run down and captured by the young Aleuts. TheIr departure from St. Paul Is quite a feature of the avifaunan exhibition. About 6 In the evening a small flock of perhaps 40 birds will rise into the air from about the village pond and uttering loud, shrill cries will fly up to near the head of the lagoon. Here making a wide sweep they return, gathering fresh recruits on their way, until the vicinity of the pond is ngain reached. Sweeping around in a constantly ascending course they return up the lagoon, and turning once more, screaming as they go, and adding to their numbers, they make a straight course high over the village hill and on out to sea over the reef point. This invariably took place every evening during the latter part of my stay on the island. It was always the rule that a dense fog bank hung all around the Island at that time, so that even the reef point was not visible, but the birds went into the fog without the slightest hesitation. They left their landmarks behind. Several flocks averaging about a hundred birds left nearly every evening from the end of July until I left on August 10. The first arrivals on the island were always adults; the young were not noted for at least 10 days. According to Elliott they all leave the Islands after the 10th of September.
Many of these birds must make the 2,000-mile flight over the ocean from the Commander or Aleutian Islands to the Hawaiian Islands. They have repeatedly been seen in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from land. This does not seem so remarkable, now that we know that they can alight and rest on the water and rise from it easily. They must go a long time without food or find a very scanty supply of it, as it must take 40 or 50 hours to make the trip. But Dr. Henry W. Henshaw (1902) says that some of the first arrivals on these islands, which he shot about the middle of August, “were all of them plump and in fine order for the table.”
Game: The turnstone has never attained great importance as a game bird, though it was formerly counted in the list of “big birds” in the gunner’s bag. It was plump and generally fat, so that it made a good table bird. It has a variety of local names, such as chicken plover, calico bird, brant bird, etc. It decoys well to almost any decoys and, although its own note is difficult to imitate, it will respond readily to the call of its favorite companion, the blackbellied plover.
Winter: The ruddy turustone spends the winter on the coasts of the southern States and on both coasts of South America, from South Carolina to Brazil and from southern California to Chile. The larger, Old World form, interpret, apparently does not winter anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, but occupies the coasts of southern Europe and Asia, much of Africa, some of the oceanic islands, and Australia. If we are to recognize the Pacific form, oaJz~uensis, there is yet much to be learned about the limits of its winter and summer ranges and where it intergrades with interpres. The island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands is the type locality of oahuensis; and it probably has a wide range among Pacific islands.
Dr. Alexander Wetmore says in his notes:
In the remote Islands of the Hawaiian bird reservation the turnatone is common during the period of northern winter, and a few sterile or injured individuals mny remain through the summer. Though common along the sandy beaches and the shores of lagoons, as is usual, at times they exhibited curious habits, as on Ocean Island they ran back from the open shore beneath the thickets of beach magnolia (Scaevola), penetrating the entire island in cover as dense as that ordinarily chosen by woodcock. It was always a surprise when one, attracted by some sound, flew up from under the bushes and perched on a dead branch to look at me. On Midway turastones ran about on the lawns at the cable station like robins, with so domestic and contented an air that It was at times difficult to recall that they were here merely as transients, and that soon they would he nesting In arctic tundras.
Charles Barrett writes to me from Australia, as follows:
One of our most interesting summer visitors, the turnstone frequents open beaches on the mainland generally in small flocks, and also favors reefs and coral strands among the tropical and subtropical Islands. When camped, with other members of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union, on Masthead Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, in October, 1910, I observed many turn stones on the white coral-sand beach. Apparently, with waders of other species, they had recently arrived, after the long flight from their breeding grounds. They were active enough, but in poor condition. During migration, they can have little chance to obtain food, and the strain of flying thousnads of miles affects even the healthiest birds. But they obtain abundance of food in their Austral haunts, and soon become plump again. Many localities in Australia are admirably suited to the turastone’s needs, and it is not a rare bird with us, Indeed, on islands of the Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Queensland, it may be termed a common species.
W. B. Alexander tells me that the turnstone is “a fairly common visitor to Australian coasts. My earliest record is of a pair seen on the beach at Oyster Cay, Great Barrier Reef, North Queensland, on August 2’1, 1925, and my latest record a pair on the estuary of the Lost River on the south coast of Western Australia on April 25, 1914.”
Range: Mainly in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Breeding range: The turnstone breeds on the Arctic coasts of both hemispheres, but its exact status in North America is still somewhat indefinite. The known breeding range extends from probably Greenland (Disco Bay, Tuctoo Valley, and Bowdoin Bay); east to Iceland; Nor way (Smolen Islands); Sweden; Lapland; Finland; Nova Zembla; Siberia (Balagansk, and Plover Bay); Kamchatka; probably the Commander Islands; and Alaska (St. Lawrence Island, St. Michaels, Takshageinut, Port Clarence, probably Cape Lowenstern and Point Barrow).
Winter range: In winter the turnstone is found on the coasts of Europe and Asia north to the British Isles; Japan and Hawaii. They range south at this season to South Africa (Cape of Good Hope); Madagascar; the Mascarene Islands; Australia; New Zealand; and Chile.
Migration: In North America, early dates of spring arrival are: Alaska, St. Michael, May 15; and Greenland, north of latitude 810 30′, May 27. Late dates of fall departure are Greenland, north of latitude 810 31′, September 11; and Alaska, Nushagak, September 21.
Casual records: The turnstone can be considered only as a casual or accidental visitant anywhere in North America south of the breeding grounds. A specimen taken at Pacific Beach, California, September 8, 1904, was identified as the European race, but the record also has been questioned (Grinnell). Four specimens taken on San Geronimo Island, Lower California, March 15, 1897, were considered by Oberholser as typical of the European or Asiatic race. One was obtained at Monomoy Island, Massachusetts on September 8, 1892 (Bishop); and Wayne took a specimen on Dewees Island, South Carolina, May 30, 1918.
[AUTHOR’S NOTE.: For the author’s views on the distribution of the two forms of the turnstone, see his note on the distribution of nwrinella. There is much individual variation in color, with a decided sexual difference in size, which opens the question of wrongly sexed specimens. The individual variation in size is still grea.ter, so much so that both extremes of both forms are very close togethcr. A large, dark female of morinelia, wrongly sexed, might easily be recorded as interpres. These facts cast some doubt on North American records of interpres.]
Egg dates: Norway and Sweden: 16 records, June 1 to 30; 8 records, June 7 to 13. Lapland and Finland: 14 records, May 23 to July 8; 7 records, June 8 to 18.
ARENARIA INTERPRES MORINELLA
Range: North America; Central America; islands of the Caribbean Sea; and South America.
Breeding range: Actual breeding records of the ruddy turnatone are not numerous, so it is difficult to accurately define its breeding range. From information available it appears that they breed east from Alaska (Ilooper Bay, Colville River Delta, Collinson Point, and probably Demarcation Point); to Mackenzie (lower Anderson River, Liverpool Bay, Franklin Bay, and probably Felix Harbor); Franklin (probably Melville Island, Victoria Island, probably King Oscar Land) ; probably Ellesmere and Grant Lands; and northwestern Greenland. Specimens have been obtained in southern Mackenzie in June (Fort Resolution and Fort Rae), but there is not yet any evidence of their breeding in that region. Eggs also have been reported from “Hudson Bay” (Reinecke), but the record is too indefinite to stand careful scrutiny.
Nonbreeding individuals have been detected in summer as far south as Chile (Selater) ; Peru (Callao) ; the Galapagos Islands (Baur and Adams); Venezuela (Margarita and Aruba Islands); and the West Indies (Carriacou and Jamaica). It also has been noted at this season on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts of the United States, as Florida (Bradentown, Passage Key, Fort De Soto, Key West, and Daytona Beach); South Carolina (Frogmore, and Mount Pleasant); North Carolina (Beaufort); Virginia (Hog Island, and Cape Charles) ; New York (Fair Haven Light, Long Beach, and Gardiners Island) ; Massachusetts (Monomoy Island, and Cape Cod) ; Louisiana (Chandeleur Islands, and Breton Islands); Texas (Fort Brown, and Corpus Christi); and California (Santa Cruz).
Winter range: The winter range of morinella can be defined but little better as the records are frequently confused with Arenaruz ~. interpres, to which some of the following may refer. Their range at this season appears to extend north to California (rarely San Francisco Bay); Texas (Fort Brown, Point Isabel, Refugio County, and the Sabine River); probably Louisiana; probably North Carolina (Fort Macon) ; and Bermuda (Ireland Island). East to Bermuda (Ireland Island); South Carolina (Mount Pleasant, and Frogmore); Georgia (Savannah, Blackbeard Island, and Darien); Florida (Fernandina, St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Mosquito Inlet, Cocoa, Fort Pierce, and Key West); the Bahama Islands (New Providence, and Great Inagua)~ Haiti (Monte Cristi, and Samana); Porto Rico (Mameyes, and Culebra Island); Lesser Antilles (Sombrero, St. Bartholomew, Carriacou, and Tobago); British Guiana (probably Abary River); French Guiana (probably Cayanne); and Brazil (Para, Cajetuba Island, Fernando Noronha, and Abroihos Island). South to Brazil (Abrolbos Island); and Chile (Valdivia). West to Chile (Valdivia, Talcahuano, Paposo, and Atacama); Peru (probably Chorillos) ; the Galapagos Islands (Albemarle, Hood, Indefatigable and Bindloe Islands); Honduras (Swan Island); Guatemala (Chiapam); Mexico (the Valley of Mexico); Lower California (San Jose del Cabo, and Magdalena Bay); and California (rarely San Francisco Bay). Occasionally also, wintering as far north as Sanakh, Alaska (Littlejohn). Spring iMigration:
Early dates of spring arrival are: Virginia, Accoinac County, May 8, Chesapeake, May 10, and Locustville, May 11; New Jersey, Ocean City, May 5, Cape May, May 6, and Long Beach, May 16; New York, Fair Haven Light, May 10, Montauk Point, May 12, and Canandaigua, May 14; Connecticut, New Haven, May 18, and Norwalk, May 19; Rhode Island, Newport, May 13, and Sachuest Point, May 14; Massachusetts, Nantucket, May 1, Woods Hole, May 5, and Monomoy Island, May 6; Maine, South Harpswell, May 20, and Portland, May 22; Nova Scotia, Pictou, May 24; Franklin, Winter Island, June 10; Illinois, Northeastern, April 30, Englewood, May 22, Chicago, May 23, and Waukegan, May 24; Indiana, Starke County, May 20, and Wolfe Lake, May 23; Ohio, Lakeside, May 11, Oberlin, May 15, Huron, May 17, and Painesville, May 28; Michigan, Detroit, May 13, Kalamazoo County, May 20, and Ann Arbor, May 25; Ontario, Toronto, May 18, Kingston, May 20, Moose Factory, May 26, and Mitchelle Bay, May 31; Nebraska, Lincoln, May 18; Iowa, Burlington, May 21; Minnesota, Lake And, May 20, Minneapolis, May 21, and Walker, May 24; Wisconsin, Madison, May 22; South Dakota, Coteau des Prairies, May 26, and Fort Sisseton, May 27; Manitoba, Shoal Lake, May 25; Saskatchewan, Ile a la Crosse, May 22, and Orestwynd, May 23; Alberta, Tofield, May 15, and Fort Chipewyan, May 25; Mackenzie, Fort Simpson, May 29; California, San Nicolas Island, April 7; Oregon, Mercer, May 14; Washington, Puget Sound, May 6, Willapa Harbor, May 11, and Shoalwater Bay, May 17; and Alaska, Unalaska, May 19, and Nulato, May 23.
Late dates of spring departures are: Peru, Mathews Island, April 24; Porto Rico, Culebrita Island, April 15; Bahama Islands, Andros, April 26, and Green Cay, April 29; Florida, Punta Rassa, May 13, St. Marks, May 22, and Daytona Beach, May 24; Georgia, Savannah, May 29; South Carolina, Egg Bank, May 14, and Mount Pleasant, June 12; North Carolina, Churchs Island, May 19, and Cape Hatteras, May 20; Virginia, Wachapreague, May 24, Hog Island, May 19, and Smiths Island, May 31; Pennsylvania, Warren, May 30, and Erie, June 2; New Jersey, Camden, May 21, and Cape May County, June 3; New York, Ithaca, June 13, Montauk Point, June 9, and Orient, June 12; Connecticut, Fairfield, May 29, Westport, May 30, and Norwalk, June 1; Massachusetts, Dennis, June 2, Marthas Vineyard, June 8, and Monomoy Island, June 8; Illinois, Chicago, June 9, Northeastern, June 18; Indiana, Wolfe Lake, June 9; Ohio, Huron, June 3, Oberlin, June 5, and Lakeside, June 5; Michigan, Detroit, June 6, and Charity Ishund, June 15; Ontario, Toronto, June 17; North Dakota, Devils Lake, June 11; South Dakota, Vermilion, May 30; Texas, Point Isabel, May 14; Minnesota, Cass Lake, May 30; Wisconsin, De Pere, June 3; Manitoba, Dog Point, June 7, Lake Winnipeg, June 10, and Shoal Lake, June 12; Saskatchewan, Indian Head, June 2, and Churchill River, June 9; California, Santa Barbara, May 6, Farallon Islands, May 7, and San Nicolas Island, May 11; Oregon, Mercer, May 14; and Washington, Wallapa Harbor, May 16.
Fall Migration: Early dates of fall arrival are: Washington, Destruction Island, July 17; California, Monterey Bay, July 18, and Santa Barbara, July 26; Lower California, San Jose del Cabo, August 31; Oaxaca, San Mateo, August 9; Saskatchewan, Quill Lake, August 7, Bigstick Lake, August 9, and Crane Lake, August 11; Manitoba, Fort Churchill, July 30, Shoal Lake, August 7, and Oak Lake, August 8; Texas, Rockport, August 12; Ontario, Toronto, July 30, and Point Pelee, August 14; Michigan, Charity Island, August 6; Ohio, Pelee Island, July 24, Huron, August 3, and Lakeside, August 8; Indiana, Millers, August 8; Illinois, Chicago, July 20, and La Grange, August 13; Maine, Portland, July 28; Massachusetts, Marthas Vineyard July 24, Harvard, July 26, and Monomoy Island, July 27; Rhode Island, Island of Rhode Island, July 26, and Kingston, August 11; Connecticut, Meriden, August 8; New York, Montauk Point, July 18, Orient, July 28, and Shelter Island, July 29; New Jersey, Cape May, July 16; Virginia, Cobb Island, August 1, and Locustville, August 7; North Carolina, Pea Island, August 11; Bermuda, Coopers Island, July 27; South Carolina, Mount Pleasant, July 15; Georgia, Savannah, August 18; Florida, Palmo Sola, July 26, St. Marks, July 30, Pensacola, August 1, and Daytona, August 10; Bahama Islands, Mariguana, August 5; Jamaica, Spanishtown, August 13; Lesser Antilles, Barbados, August 22, and St. Croix, September 8; Peru, Payta, September 20; and Chile, Talcahuano, September 9.
Late dates of fall departure are: Alaska, St. Michael, September 8; British Columbia, Graham Island, September 5; Washington, Simiahmoo, October 3; California, Alameda, October 15; Manitoba, Oak Lake, September 9; Wisconsin, Sheboygan, September 1; Ontario, Point Pelee, September 15, and Toronto, September 16; Michigan, Bay City, September 4, and Detroit, September 5; Ohio, Huron, October 18. Lakeside, October 21, and New Bremen, October 23; Illinois, Chicago, October 13; Franklin, Harrowby Bay, August 30, Newfoundland, September 5; Nova Scotia, La Have Ridges, September 27; New Brunswick, Grand Manan, September 4, and Tabusintoc, October 23; Quebec, Green Island, October 26; Massachusetts, North Truro, October 9, Woods Hole, October 20, and (exceptional) Dennis, November 3; Rhode Island, Point Judith, September 14, and Newport, October 8; New York, Canandaigua, September 16, Brockport, October 6, and Orient, October 7.
Casual records: The ruddy turnstone is not now common anywhere in the Mississippi Valley and has been recorded on but few occasions in the lower part of this region and in the States xvest to the Rocky Mountains. Among these last are, Arkansas, reported at Osceola by Doctor Richardson (Howell) ; Missouri, St. Louis, September 7, 1897; Kansas, Kansas River, August 16, 1898, and Greenwood County, October 1, 1911; Colorado, Denver, April 26, 1890, and May 18, 1900, and Barr, September 9, 1907; and Wyoming, Yellowstone Park, August 30, 1922.
[Author’s NOTE.: The above is the generally accepted theory as to the distribution of the two forms of the turnstone. The author has examined a few specimens from Iceland and East Greenland and a large number from Alaska and various islands in the Pacific Ocean. The Iceland birds are nearer interpres; the East Greenland birds are less typical of interpres, with a more decided tendency toward morinella; no West Greenland birds have been examined and perhaps they might be nearer morinella; Alaska and Hawaiian Island birds, as well as those from Polynesia, are much nearer morinella. Apparently the range of morinella should be extended eastward to western Greenland, and westward to Bering Strait and to the Pacific islands. Both color and size have been taken into account in this study.]
Egg dates: Bering Sea coast of Alaska: 10 records, May 29 to June 27. Arctic coasts of Alaska and Canada: 19 records, June 19 to August 1; 10 records, June 28 to July 21.