The Dunlin is a a starling-sized "coatal bird" with handsome summer markings. It is often referred to as the "Red-backed Sandpiper". In winter it turns to dull gray. With its "long, slightly drooping bill", it searches sandy beaches for insects and crustaceans and probes into river margins for other small animals.
Another tundra breeding sandpiper, the Dunlin is found, in flocks of thousands, in subarctic and arctic coastal areas from southwestern Alaska east to James Bay in Canada.
Calls or song.
The Dunlin sings primarily while in the breeding mode, both on the ground and in the air. His song consists of a series of trills, beginning with a "drurr-drurr" and falling off to a soft "cheerp".
Population and distribution.
One of the hardiest of shorebirds, the Dunlin winters on sandbars and inlets along the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts; in the East, as far north as New England.
Dunlins build nests of grass on a dry hammock on the open tundra. There they lay 4 olive eggs, spotted with brown.