The Spotted Sandpiper is common to many lake and stream shore locations in Pennsylvania, including Silver lake. One of the interesting behaviors is the frequent tail-bobbing action seen as the bird walks along the shore. We have not read of any definitive explanation of the purpose of tail bobbing or teetering, but it starts soon after a Spotted Sandpiper chick hatches.
Its characteristic teetering motion has earned the Spotted Sandpiper many nicknames. Among them are teeter-peep, teeter-bob, jerk or perk bird, teeter-snipe, and tip-tail.
Spotted Sandpipers eat mostly small invertebrates such as midges, mayflies, flies (particularly their aquatic larvae), grasshoppers, beetles, worms, snails, and small crustaceans. The Spotted Sandpiper was the first bird species identified with a role reversal behavior where the male provides the majority of the parental care.
Keep an eye out for this interesting bird, that thankfully is finding ways for stayin’ alive.
Here is a local youtube video that may provide one explanation of the Spotted Sandpiper’s tail-bobbing behavior.
Read more about the Spotted Sandpiper in Pennsylvania: