While Pixar's feature films have given us such beloved characters as Woody, Dory, Sully, Rex, those aliens ("The Claw!"), hungry seagulls ("Mine?"), and dozens more, the animated studio's short films that play before the big hitters have been equally as heartwarming. Remember the carrot-jilted rabbit from "Presto"? Or how about the stork in "Partly Cloudy" tasked with delivering less-than-cuddly creatures?

That tradition of warming up audiences with plenty of "awwwws" is likely to continue with "Piper," the short-film slated to play ahead of the highly anticipated sequel "Finding Dory." According to Pixar animator and "Piper" director Alan Barillaro, the idea for the six-minute film came to him during his runs along the beach in Emeryville, California.

“Seeing the way these sandpipers react to waves and run, I always felt, ‘Gosh, that’s a film, that’s a character,’” Barillaro told EW's Marc Snetiker. “It’s always fun to show a world we’re familiar with but from a different perspective. We’ve all been to the beach, but have we ever viewed water from just an inch off the sand? That could be very fearful from a bird’s perspective.”

"Piper" will tell the story of a baby sandpiper with a fear of water, who learns the ways of the ocean from a parent and a friendly hermit crab.

"It’s the kid at the playground feeling,” Barillaro added. “You fall down and you feel so small, but you look and see someone even smaller than you brush themselves off and tackle something, and learn from that in your own way."

"Piper" will premiere with "Finding Dory" on June 17.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Pixar's latest little hero has a fear of water
New animated short 'Piper,' about a sandpiper with hydrophobia, will appear before the highly anticipated 'Finding Dory.'