The short centers on a newborn sandpiper, the eponymous Piper, who is brought by her mother to the shoreline so she can learn to feed on bivalves. However, she is caught off guard by an incoming wave and engulfed in it. Traumatized, Piper refuses to go to the shore again, however, her hunger leaves her no choice. On her second attempt, she notices a tiny hermit crab who also comes to the shore to feed. As a new wave approaches, she observes that the crab buries himself down in the sand. Out of options, Piper resorts to imitating the crab. The wave submerges Piper, but she stays safely at the bottom. Opening her eyes, she witnesses with wonder all the bivalves creeping out of the sand to take a quick breath before the wave ebbs. The short ends with Piper no longer afraid of the waves, jumping playfully in the water and tucking herself in the sand every time a wave flows.
Barillaro said the impetus for the short came from what watching the behavior of feeding sandpipers, who forage on the shore but flee the water each time the waves flow.
- 2017 Academy Award® Winner for Best Animated Short Film
- Annie Award Winner for Best Animated Short Subject
- Advanced Imaging Society Lumiere Award Nominee for Best 3D Short