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Wandering Tattlers Hit the Coast

A sentinel bird – and a wanderer!

This dusky forager among the mussels and barnacles goes by the curious name of Wandering Tattler. It was likely named for the notion that its rapid whistles alert other birds to the presence of a hunter, or other predator. And while it's not certain that the sandpiper actually "tattles," it truly is an epic wanderer. After breeding in Alaska, tattlers spread out all across the Pacific islands, spending the winter from Hawaii to Australia.

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Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Wandering Tattlers Hit the Coast

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote!
 [Sound of ocean waves breaking over a jetty; Wandering Tattler’s rapid call]
 Surf crashes over the massive, gray boulders of an oceanfront jetty on the Northwest coast. [Waves crashing] A slate-gray bird, the very color of the wet boulders, calls. [Wandering Tattler’s rapid call] This dusky forager among the mussels and barnacles goes by the curious name of Wandering Tattler. [Wandering Tattler’s rapid call] The tattler bobs its tail and then steps into the shelter of the rocks, just as the next wave hammers the jetty. [Waves crashing]
 The Wandering Tattler is a sandpiper, roughly robin-sized, with an affinity for rocky habitats. It was likely named for the notion that its rapid whistles alert other birds to the presence of a hunter, or other predator. [Wandering Tattler’s rapid call] And while it’s not certain the sandpiper actually “tattles,” it truly is an epic wanderer. After breeding along gravelly streams in Alaska, tattlers spread out all across the Pacific islands, spending the winter from Hawaii to Australia.
 Wandering Tattlers pause along the Pacific coast in September, where among the boulders of a jetty, you can hear their ringing whistles. [Sound of ocean waves breaking over a jetty and Wandering Tattler’s rapid call]
 If you’d like to get advance notice of our upcoming shows and see pictures of the birds we’ll feature, sign up at birdnote.org. For BirdNote, I’m Frank Corrado.
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Call of the Wandering Tattler provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by C. Robbins.
Ambient waves recorded by John Kessler, Kessler Productions
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org          September 2010

ID# 090707WATAKPLU          WATA-01

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