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 Lesser Yellowlegs

Status in Michigan
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 Lesser Yellowlegs.

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

Active Database - Summer 2005
View Lesser Yellowlegs sightings.
Lesser Yellowlegs Archives Reports
Spring 2005
Fall 2004
Spring 2004
Winter 03-04
Fall 2003 4691
Spring 2003 72
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 777
Summer 2002 110
Spring 2002 973
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 6205
Summer 2001 856
Spring 2001 288
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 877
Summer 2000 56
Spring 2000 139
Winter 00-99 3
Fall 1999 472
Spring/Summer 1999 33

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Lesser Yellowlegs

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

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

Historical Text

Totanus flavipes (Gmelin)
Lesser Yellow-legs (A.O.U. 1998: Lesser Yellowlegs)

Common transient, more common in fall than in spring. Reported in summer in southern counties.

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

SPRING.-Northward flight is reported in southern counties from the middle of April to the middle of May, and somewhat later in the Upper Peninsula.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 76-77, 189, 203) the species arrived by mid-March, main flight occur- ring on the average from mid-April to mid-May. Among other observations at Detroit, Swales noted "200 or more" on May 5, 6, and 10 (1906), and "100 or more" on May 12 (1906). In the Ann Arbor region, as well as in Jackson County (chiefly at Portage Lake), the species has been seen regularly by the middle of April, but a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was collected north of Dexter, Washtenaw County, on March 24 in 1933. Groups of 20 or 30 are not uncommon there. On April 29, 1934, 60 were noted in the vicinity of Portage Lake, Jackson County, by R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and Trautman. The species seems to be at least fairly common about Battle Creek (Walkinshaw, 1941: 115; and notes) and in Kalamazoo County (Gibbs, 1885: 166; F. W. Rapp, 1931: 10). During several expeditions in Berrien County (N. A. Wood, 1922: 11) only 2 birds were observed (on May 9,2023) . On Saginaw Bay at Fish Point, Tuscola County, and at Sand Point, Huron County, this wader has been noted the last few days of April (30 birds on April 26, 1926, at Fish Point, by N. A. Wood) and well into May; at Sand Point, where it has been more common than the Greater Yellow-legs, it has been "generally present in two's or three's or small flocks up to a dozen" (D. W. Douglass, 1931 to 1933). At Cecil Bay, Emmet County, it was "migrating in some numbers" on May 4, 2023 (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937); on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, in 1929 it was found in flocks of 20 to 40 from May 2 to May 10 (James H. Wood and N. A. Wood) and in smaller numbers later.

Upper Peninsula.-In 1934 at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, where this species was apparently far less common than the Greater Yellow-legs, only a few (maximum of 20 on May 7) were observed by R. E. Olsen and T. D. Hinshaw between May 6 and 14; similar numbers of Lesser Yellow-legs were recorded there by Christofferson in other years, occasionally even in late April.

SUMMER.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 76-77) saw 12 Lesser Yellow-legs in the Erie marsh on June 21, 1936; 10 on June 25, 1934; and 25 on June 30, 1937. Swales saw an individual at Detroit on June 30, 1906. Evidence obtained from specimens (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 76-77) suggests that many of these summer birds are in poor condition.

FALL.-Southward flight, heavier and slower than the spring flight, occurs principally in July and August in the Upper Peninsula, and from July through September in southern counties.

Upper Peninsula.-On Isle Royale the Lesser Yellow-legs has been noted singly and in small flocks from July 26 to September 15 (U.M.M.Z.; N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906:122; Peet, 1909a: 119; 1909: 346). Several birds were recorded near the Lake Superior shore of Ontonagon County on July 21 and (U.M.M.Z.) August 3, 2023 (N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 113), and also in Dickinson County (a flock of 8) on July 29, 2023 (Gaige, 1914: 79). At Blaney, Schoolcraft County, and at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, Christofferson found the species chiefly in July and August, though also later; at Munuscong Bay, Max M. Peet collected a specimen on July 29, 1934. Van Tyne (1923: 22) saw flocks at Les Cheneaux Islands, Mackinac County, in August (1918 and 1920) and found this species more common there than the Greater Yellow-legs.

Lower Peninsula.-The Lesser Yellow-legs has been observed in fall migration in the vicinity of Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, from mid-July to September 11 (N. A. Wood, Smith, and Gates, 1916: 8; Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937); Charlevoix County (Van Tyne, 1925: 615); South Manitou Island, Leelanau County, July 31, 2023 (3 seen feeding, by A. E. Staebler) ; and Mason County (Chaney, 1910: 273). On Saginaw Bay, at Charity Island, 2 birds were noted on August 19 in 1910 (N. A. Wood, 1911: 90-91) ; at Fish Point, in 1934, flocks were found by N. A. Wood and R. E. Olsen from July 18 (100 birds) to September 29 (10 birds, one in U.M.M.Z.), and specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were taken by N. A. Wood on September 27, 1934, and September 28, 1925. The species occurs more or less commonly in Kalamazoo County from July 24 to October 6 (Gibbs, 1885:166; F. W. Rapp, 1931: 10); in Calhoun County (Mud Lake, Convis Town- ship, 50 birds seen August 12, 1934, by R. E. and H. A. Olsen); in Ingham County (flock of 11 on October 28, 1906-Barrows, 1912: 193); and in Jackson County (at Jackson, "some" in mid-July, 1933-Fargo; at Port- age Lake, 30 on August 16, 1936, 30 on September 23, 1934, and 4 on October 28, 1934-R. E. Olsen, A. D. Tinker, and others). In the Ann Arbor region a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was taken as late as October 28, 1917, by F. M. Gaige. Some years at Detroit, Swales found this wader common in August; he noted 50 on August 10 (1907), 100 on August 5 (1905), and saw a few in September to the last day of the month (1 in 1905). In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. "W. Campbell (1940: 189, 203) found numbers of the species from early July to early October, and a few until early 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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