American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 43

PIPING PLOVER (gialitis mdoda). These birds, otherwise known as "Beach Birds" and "Pale Ring-necks," are the lightest colored of any of our shore birds, even whiter than the next species, which is known as the Snowy Plover. They are found locally in the interior, chiefly about the Great Lakes and on the Atlantic coast north to Nova Scotia, although in the greater part of this range they have now become wholly extirpated because of shooting and more perhaps because of building along the coast. They are found almost exclusively upon sandy beaches, with which their colors harmonize so closely that they are hardly visible as they run about. Their eggs, which are laid in slight hollows in the sand, arc also almost invisible since their ground is sand color and the few small specks that are on the surface only add to the degree with which they mock their surroundings.

     They can run with almost incredible swiftness, and they will usually attempt escape by running and hiding rather than by flight. The tiny little plover are just as nimble of foot as their parents, and will hide beside pebbles or behind a few spears of beach grass so effectively that it is almost impossible to discover them.

     Piping Plover fly swiftly and with the grace characteristic of shore birds, alternately twisting so as to expose first the upper parts and then the under surfaces. Their notes are exceedingly musical, a clear, piping queep, queep, queep-lo. They measure about 7 in. in length.


SNOWY PLOVER (gialitis nivosa). Slightly smaller than the last species, the back just a little darker, the addition of a black mark back of the eyes and with the bill wholly black instead of with an orange base like that of the Piping Plover. Their actions, like those of the latter bird, are quite different from those of the abundant Semi-palmated Plover. Having the ability to hide effectually, they constantly make use of this gift, which is wholly at variance with the habits of confiding "Ring-necks." Snowy Plover are found in southwestern United States, north to Kansas and central California.