American Pipit

FEATURED SANCTUARY BIRD: AMERICAN PIPIT

The American Pipit is a ground-dwelling bird, breeding on the arctic tundra, migrating through the greater part of North America, and wintering along coastal flatlands of the entire southern United States and Mexico. Impressive in its drabness, the bird's thin bill, long legs, and long wagging tail are distinctive.

  Photo by Mick Thompson, Creative Commons

Photo by Mick Thompson, Creative Commons

The global breeding population of American Pipits is estimated at 20 million, according to Partners in Flight estimates. Other members of the genus Anthus (which means a bird of grasslands), do not have quite as stable populations. The Sprague's Pipit, a bird formerly common on the prairies of the Great Plains, has seen an 87% decline since 1966. The pipits are a highly migratory genus, with dull coloring that helps them blend into the grassland and agricultural lands in which they live.

  Photo by Nicole Beaulac, Creative Commons

Photo by Nicole Beaulac, Creative Commons

American Pipits feed on insects and seeds throughout their range. On their breeding grounds of the far North, they form nests of dried sedges and grasses. A typical clutch size is five eggs, but can vary depending on snowfall. Males compete for barren areas that melt quicker during spring.

You can find American Pipits migrating through Faville Grove Sanctuary and in nearby agricultural fields. Look for large flocks of birds bobbing their tails and flitting about our prairie restorations.

 

Written by Drew Harry, Faville Grove Land Steward