Wilsons Snipe

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The Wilsons Snipe of the Pacific Northwest

Wilsons Snipe, Shorebird, Birds, Vancouver Island, BC Coastal Region, Pacific Northwest
Wilsons Snipe, Photo copyright By Pauline Greenhalgh

The Wilson’s Snipe is a medium-sized wader, about 28 cm. It is easily identified by its mottled brown back, long, straight bill and orange tail markings. Other field marks include a whitish belly, black head stripes, and dull green legs.

Male and female Wilson’s Snipe are similar to one another in all seasons. Wilson’s Snipe breed across Alaska, Canada, and the northern tier of the United States.

Birds breeding in the pacific northwest are non migratory. Wilson’s Snipe breed in freshwater ponds, swamps and bogs with areas of marsh grasses for cover. This species uses the same habitats in winter as in summer.

Wilson’s snipe mainly eat insects and other small invertebrates. Wilson’s snipe will use their long bills to probe the mud for food. The wilson’s snipe is a reclusive bird that may stay crouched until you pass, totally unseen or if you get to close to one hiding in the grass, it will blast forth from hiding and fly in a zigzag pattern until it feels it is out of danger, this can come as quite a surprise to you.

Wilsons Snipe, Birds, Shorebirds, Vancouver Island, BC Coastal Region, Pacific Northwest
Wilsons Snipe, Photo Copyright By Pauline Greenhalgh

They forage by probing through water and mud with their sensitive bills, often pressing the entire length of their bill into the dirt as they seek prey.
These wadding shorebirds build a simple cup shaped nest on or very close to the ground. The female will lay up to 4 eggs that vary from pale tan to darker brown and are flecked with dark spots.

The female parent will incubate the eggs for up to 20 days. After hatching, the young are split between their parents, with both the male and female adults taking 1 to 2 each and they will raise them separately. The young birds stay with that parent for up to 3 weeks until they fledge.

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