Sandpipers And People

Many species in the family, particularly the snipe and woodcock, are widely hunted for food or sport. Some sandpipers are

THE LEMMING FACTOR

Some species of sandpipers that breed in the Northern Hemisphere share their breeding habitats with small mammals called lemmings. Biologists have observed that in these areas, the breeding success of sandpipers moves in cycles that correspond to changes in the number of lemmings. When there are fewer lemmings, lemming predators such as arctic foxes catch and eat more adult and young sandpipers.

considered pests because they eat crops, particularly rice, whereas others actually help farmers by eating large numbers of insects. Some sandpipers have also played significant roles in human folklore. One group of Australian Aborigines performs a "sandpiper dance" since the arrival of the birds marks the beginning of the rainy season. In the Russian Far East, inhabitants of the Chukchi Peninsula imitate the impressive dance of lekking male ruffs.

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