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 Greater Yellowlegs

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Greater Yellowlegs.

Use the links below to view the Greater Yellowlegs reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Greater Yellowlegs sightings.
Greater Yellowlegs Archives Reports
Fall 2003 386
Spring 2003 64
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 241
Summer 2002 22
Spring 2002 222
Winter 01-02 1
Fall 2001 265
Summer 2001 48
Spring 2001 192
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 123
Summer 2000 25
Spring 2000 169
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 151
Spring/Summer 1999 12

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Greater Yellowlegs

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Greater Yellowlegs
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Greater Yellowlegs
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text

Totanus melanoleucus (Gmelin)
Greater Yellow-legs (A.O.U. 1998: Greater Yellowlegs)

Fairly common transient.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 416).

SPRING.-In southern counties the spring flight is reported principally from early or middle April to early May.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 76, 189, 202) the species has arrived by the middle of March, and has been present in numbers on the average from April 14 to May 8. At Detroit from 1891 to 1911 Swales recorded it in late April and early May, but only irregularly and in very small numbers. In the Ann Arbor region and in Jackson County (mainly at Portage Lake) it has often arrived in the first 2 weeks of April (specimens in U.M.M.Z.), and flocks are not uncommon there by the middle of the month. At Portage Lake, Jackson County, flocks of 15 to 30 have occurred from April 12 (1934, U.M.M.Z.) to April 29 (1934) ; on April 19, 1936, 80 birds were noted there by R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and T. D. Hinshaw. In the 1930's about Battle Creek, Walkinshaw (1941: 115; and notes) recorded this wader almost every spring by the middle or latter part of April. Gibbs (1885: 166) called it "not rare" in Kalamazoo County, but F. W. Rapp (1931: 10) has found only a few of the species there (from April 25 to May 7). At Fish Point, Tuscola County, in 1926, N. A. Wood observed a few from April 25 (10) to May 14 (1), the maximum being 20 on May 3; on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, in 1929, James H. Wood and N. A. Wood noted flocks of 10 to 20 (U.M.M.Z.) from May 2 to May 10, and smaller numbers later (U.M.M.Z., May 14).

Upper Peninsula.-At Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, in 1933 (Van Tyne and Max M. Peet), there were about 6 of the species on May 1, and several hundred on May 6; in 1934 (R. E. Olsen and T. D. Hinshaw), there were 300 on May 7. Christofferson has recorded a few there and at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, in late April and in May. Bryens recorded 10 at McMillan, Luce County, on April 28, 1938, and a flock of 12 there on May 11, 1940. At Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, Brodkorb noted. several of the species almost daily during the second week of May, 1936 (maximum of 10 on May 10), and 2 on May 19. The species was rare in the spring of 1931 at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County (N. A. Wood, 1933: 717), only 3 (1 in U.M.M.Z.) being seen (on May 11 and 12).

SUMMER.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 76; and notes) recorded a very few summer birds in the Erie marsh, Monroe County, among them a group of 25 on June 30, 1937, that was still present July 5.

FALL.-Southward flight, more protracted than spring, extends mainly from late July or early August through most of October.

Upper Peninsula.-On the several Museum of Zoology expeditions to Isle Roy ale, the species was found only twice: August 1, 2023 (1 seen- Max M. Peet, 1909 : 370), and July 29,2023 (listed by Walter E. Hastings). On October 4, 1934, 7 were observed by Trautman on the East Branch of the Ontonagon River, Ontonagon County. Christofferson records fair numbers in October, at a time when the migration appears to be already on the wane much farther south. At Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, he reported seeing 50 on October 19 (1928) and 20 on October 24 (1929); and at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, he found only slightly smaller numbers in October and stragglers to mid-November (banding one there on November 17,2023).

Lower Peninsula.-In the Douglas Lake area, Cheboygan County, a few have been observed on occasion in late summer, on July 24 and thereafter (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937; see also N. A. Wood, Smith, and Gates, 1916: 8). The species has also been noted, usually very sparingly, in Manistee County (August 7,1930-Hermann, 1931: 311); in Mason County (August 17, 1909-Chancy, 1910: 273); in Roscommon County (2 on October 9, 1938, at Houghton Lake-Trautman); in northwestern Huron County (N. A. Wood, 1911: 90; N. A. Wood and Gaige, 1911: 282); and in Tuscola County (Fish Point, 50 on September 27, 1934-N. A. Wood and R. E. Olsen; 2 on October 1 and 2, 1933, specimens in Max M. Peet collection). In Kalamazoo County, where the species seems to be "not rare" (Gibbs, 1885: 166), Pirnie wrote (October 19, 2023) that in the vicinity of the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary the species was rather common ("one to twelve at most lakes visited"). In Jackson County and in the Ann Arbor region, a few have been observed fairly regularly from early and middle July (July 15, 1928, 2 noted at Ann Arbor by A. D. Tinker) to late October (October 28, 1934, 6 seen at Portage Lake, Jackson County, by E. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, Trautman, and L. E. Hicks; October 30, 1917, 1 shot by F. M. Gaige), and rarely in early November. Swales had very few fall records for Detroit-all in October and including 1 as late as October 30 (1904, 1 shot). On September 13, 1932, Trautman listed 70 at the Erie marsh, southeastern Monroe County. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area as a whole (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 76, 189, 202), numbers have been present on the average from July 28 to October 2, some individuals remaining until late November.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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