April 24, 2024

A transfixing view of a flock of birds scurrying away from waves on a beach has gone viral on Instagram.

The incredible moment was captured in a video shared on Instagram by Francheska (@venice_beach_rays) and has had 23.6 million views since it was posted on December 30.

A caption shared with the post simply says: “sandpipers at sunset.” The footage shows a group of small birds scattered across the shoreline. They are later seen swarming together, running across the sand as the waves comes crashing in, before flying off as the waves come in further.

According to later comments by the original poster, the birds in the video are sanderlings, which are the most prevalent sandpiper in the world, notes the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.

“On almost any gentle, sandy beach, the little birds you see running back and forth are probably going to be sanderlings,” the institute said.

These plump small birds have long, black legs and long beaks. As adults, they are seven to eight inches long, with a wingspan of about 14 inches. Having light grey and white feathers in winter, they often blend in with the sandy beach. But in the summer, they have tan and brown feathers, with darker patches, the Smithsonian said.

“Unlike other members of its family, the sanderling lacks a hind toe, a modification that helps this bird run across sandy surfaces. The ability to run quickly and efficiently on sand is especially important to this species, which forages along the ocean’s edge,” the American Bird Conservancy, a nonprofit, explains.

The sanderling is found on every continent except Antarctica, with around 300,000 in North America, according to the nonprofit.

North American sanderlings travel between their Arctic breeding grounds and wintering grounds each year. Some winter on U.S. coasts while others head as far south as the tip of Chile and Argentina, the American Bird Conservancy says.

Sanderlings patrol the edge of the coastline during the migration and winter periods, “advancing and retreating with the surf as they probe the sand for small crustaceans, marine worms, and other invertebrates.”

During breeding season, they “turn to abundant Arctic insect swarms for food, occasionally supplemented by seeds, buds, and plant shoots,” the nonprofit says.

‘Look at Their Little Legs’

Several users on Instagram were delighted by the footage of the sanderlings in the viral clip.

User patrick_krishnan wrote: “Bro casually shot one of the best nature video and thought we wouldn’t notice,” while alexwillustration said: “Look at their little legs.”

User stutishahh noted: “The speed at which these tiny legs are running, sooo cutee,” and yes.girl33 wrote: “See how they run.”

Another user, intuneland, noted: “I love these birds! I wonder which is the most relentless the waves or they.”

User andraarsy simply wrote: “Heaven,” while romanashab_khan said: “Beautiful.”

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment via Instagram. This video has not been independently verified.

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This story was originally published January 15, 2024, 9:53 AM.


source: star-telegram

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