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Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)
Historically nesting in native Michigan prairies and burnt meadows, this grassland plover like shorebird continues to return to scattered remnants of grassy openings in jack pine forests and other ranges in Michigan during its spring migration. Upland sandpipers winter in South America. They prefer to "roost" or perch on old stumps, fence posts or utility poles, creating a distinct profile which aids in field identification.
Upland sandpipers have large, dull brown bodies and long legs, which are featherless above the heel. They are nearly 12.5 inches in height, with a long tail and small, pigeon like head and short bill balanced on a thin, stalk like neck. This shorebird lands on its perch with wings elevated like a triangle.
Its call is a crisp "kip ip ip ip" and is audible for a long distance. The call is very distinct for the upland sandpiper and is similar to a wolf whistle. Feeding in grasslands or meadows, it will consume vast amounts of insects and seeds. Its grassland habitat is at risk due to development. Present management of the jack pine ecosystem for the endangered Kirtland's warbler has benefited this bird and other grassland species by creating or maintaining scattered savanna like openings.