American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 32

KNOT (Tringa canutus). While these birds migrate to some extent through the interior, they are there seen in nothing like the abundance with which they occur on the Atlantic seaboard, although they do not to-day occur in such numbers as they did a few years ago. During fall, when their numbers are augmented by the young of the year, flock after flock passes the length of our coast; at this season they are clothed in plain gray and white, the immature birds being rather handsomer than their parents, for the feathers on the back are edged with dark gray and white, which gives a pleasing scaled effect to their plumage. In this dress they are almost universally known as "Gray-backs," a name also applied to Dowitchers, but more frequently to this species. In the spring dress they are known as "Red-breasted Sandpipers," "Robin Snipe" and sometimes as " Horse-foot Snipe."

     They are of quite stout build, but small, measuring but a little more than 10 in. in length. They fly in compact flocks and come to decoys readily, their ranks being sometimes woefully thinned by the first volley from the blind. They feed either along the beaches or mud flats, gathering insects and shellfish from the ground or probing for them like snipe. They breed in the extreme north and winter from the Gulf coast to Patagonia.


PURPLE SANDPIPERS (Arquatella maritima maritima), "Rock Sandpipers" or "Winter Snipe," delight in cold weather. They breed in the extreme north and in winter rarely go south of Long Island and many pass that season in high latitudes. They are casually found in the interior and rarely along the coast to Florida. They frequent bold rocky shores, getting their food chiefly from the kelp and seaweed. The winter plumage is shown by the second bird from the front; in summer the back is mixed with buff and rusty similar to that of the bird below which is a subspecies.


PRIBILOF SANDPIPER (Arquatella maritima ptilocnemis). This species, which is figured in the summer plumage, breeds in the Pribilof Islands and winters on the southeastern Alaskan coast.