SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)
The semi-palmated plover is a small wading bird seen in groups along PEI sea shores. It is a migratory bird, and is often seen with the semi-palmated sandpiper in the fall. This bird walks fast in search of invertebrates left behind by breaking waves, going up and down the beach following their movement, trying not to get wet from a ‘rogue’ wave (for them anyway). When a group feels threatened by humans coming too close for comfort, they fly a little further ahead, resume foraging, and repeat this pattern as the person walks along the beach, until at some point where they will fly around the person and go back to where they were foraging in the first place.
The second photo shows the tracks of this bird behind small heaps of seaweed and sand that they use as a shelter from the wind. The fifth photo shows two semipalmated plovers behind such a heap of seaweed and eelgrass. In that photo one can see how the birds rest – on one leg, a frequent position for birds when resting, in order to conserve heat.
Something interesting to observe with that behavior is that when the bird starts walking on the beach, it still uses only one leg at the beginning so it hops, but it can do this quite fast! (see video)
This video below shows a semipalmated plover hopping on one leg for a while before switching back to running on its two perfectly healthy legs. This was on a very windy day.