Species 107: Wilson’s Snipe

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Wilson's Snipe, Oct. 24, 2016.
Wilson’s Snipe, Oct. 24, 2016.

Yesterday, an University of Ottawa student found a Wilson’s Snipe that collided with a window, and he kindly collected it for us. It’s our first of this species, and brings our species list to 107.

American Woodock

He initially thought it was an American Woodcock but said the colour seemed wrong. When we picked it up this morning, one look (and feel) of the bag made it clear it could not be a Woodcock — too small and too lightweight. A peek into the bag confirmed our suspicion that if it looked like a Woodcock but wasn’t one, it must be a Snipe.

Note the similar shape but slighter build, with thinner, greenish legs, a smaller head relative to the body, and smaller eyes that are not set far back as on a Woodcock. The Snipe is also darker overall and more streaky, and lacks the Woodcock’s rufous and grey tones.

The Safe Wings species list has not been growing as quickly as in the first couple of years, which is of course to be expected. Still, this season has brought a handful of other interesting (if sad) new finds, including Chimney Swift, Rusty Blackbird and Field Sparrow.