Snipes at the Sanctuary

So the one bird you have perhaps never seen, but have certainly heard at the Sanctuary in summer is the Wilson’s Snipe.  Especially in the evening, you’ve likely heard a quavering hooting sound coming from overhead, yet try as you might you just can’t see anything.  This sound is caused by the swooping display flight of the Wilson’s Snipe.  As it dives high in the air, it produces a quavering hoot (kind of like the song of a Boreal Owl) as its outer tail feathers vibrate during the dive.  If you have your binoculars handy and have some patience you may be able to spy this in action, but it can be tricky to catch.  Snipes can also be flushed out of the reeds or grasses along the wetland and will disappear in a rapid, twisting flight.  In fact this is where the term “sniper” comes from, as hunters would had to be incredibly fast and accurate to actually shot a snipe.