Fall has arrived! Well, maybe not in terms of the equinox, but for millions of birds across North America fall migration is already underway. Virtually all of these birds are species that migrated through in spring and have since concluded their business in the north (breeding), and are now making their way back to their wintering grounds.

Did you know that many species of birds spend their winters in the Prescott area? In fact, the Watson and Willow Lakes Important Bird Area is famous for hosting thousands of wintering shorebirds and waterfowl each year. The Western Sandpiper (pictured) is one of our favorite winter guests. This species returns each fall to the muddy shores of our reservoirs after a long journey south from the coastal tundra of far northwestern Alaska. Look for small groups of them wading in the shallows, probing the mud from small invertebrates.

There’s always something amazing going on in nature. Come out to the Highlands Center to explore and learn more about the wonders of the natural world!

Western Sandpiper photo: Alan D. Wilson
Watson Lake photo: Ken Lund
Western Sandpipers photo: Steve Vought

Sandpipers