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Shorebird identification can be a challenge. The principal reason for this is the smaller shorebirds all hang out together. Distance makes identification even more of a challenge as many of these birds share coloration and eating habits. A second challenge is shorebirds are hardly ever still which makes it difficult to focus on a single bird.
Here is a trick that works:
Make a video of a group of shorebirds. A phone works well if you are not too far away. This can be easily done when shorebirds of many kinds share all available space on tiny islands formed by an incoming tide. Later you can put the video on slow motion and begin to see differences and, with help from your bird identification book, you will begin to tell one from another.
Is it really worth all the effort? Absolutely. In no time at all, you will see color differences you never noticed and behavior traits which show how “pecking orders” (ugh, sorry to be punny) are established. Shorebird identification can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort. Shorebirds are truly amazing creatures.