... is not quite the mad rush of spring migration, when shorebirds need to race to reach their breeding grounds in time to mate and raise a family during a short Arctic summer. In fact, fall migration to wintering grounds can be rather laid back, as shorebirds are not quite so frantic to get somewhere and reproduce.
The first wave to head south are usually failed breeders who have no families to raise. Followed by successful breeding adults and then about 2 weeks later, juveniles start making the trip. This gives the chicks extra time to store fat reserves and grow strong without competition from adults. And, the energy demands are large for migrating shorebirds - some must gain half their weight in stored fat.
All this information is my way of preparing for some great shore birding this weekend with Cute Husband and Paul Baicich.
Of course, studying the field guides might help too....
But, if I see a Pectoral Sandpiper this weekend, I can nod in respect, knowing that this shorebird may have come from breeding grounds as far North as Central Siberia and is now headed to Southern South America.
Whew! These guys need some good pectorals to make that flight!