Wilson's Snipe

1/1250s at f9.0, ISO:2000, Canon EOS-1D X w/800mm, x1.4 converter

Wilson's Snipe is a small, stocky shorebird. They breed in marshes, bogs, tundra and wet meadows in Canada and the northern United States. They are year-round residents on the U.S. Pacific coast. The eastern population migrates to the southern United States and to northern South America. It may be that climate change causes these birds to move to their breeding range earlier and leave later than 100 years ago. In Ohio for example, late April was recorded as an average migration date in 1906, but now most of the local population is present on the breeding grounds by then already. They forage in soft mud, probing or picking up food by sight and eating insects, earthworms, and plant material. Well-camouflaged, they are usually shy and conceal themselves close to ground vegetation, flushing only when approached closely. They fly off in a series of aerial zig-zags to confuse predators. The male performs "winnowing" display during courtship, flying high in circles and then taking shallow dives to produce a distinctive sound. They have been observed, "winnowing" throughout the day and long into the night. The "winnowing" sound is similar to the call of a Boreal Owl. They nest in a well-hidden location on the ground.
Nome, AK