Wilson’s Snipe

April is the best time to hear the various sounds of Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) in south-eastern Wisconsin, the most distinctive being the “winnowing” produced by air passing through specialized tail feathers as the birds perform flight displays.

produced by airflow over outstretched outer rectrices of spread tail, modulated by beating of wing. –
Birds of North America Online

Wilson's Snipe Winnowing
Wilson's Snipe Winnowing
Wilson’s Snipe Winnowing and flight calls, Kettle Moraine, Waukesha County, WI, April 18, 2010.

Another category of Snipe sounds are the “Jick” and “Chipper” calls:
Wilson's Snipe Jick Call
Wilson's Snipe Jick Call
Wilson’s Snipe “Jick” calls, Kettle Moraine, Waukesha County, WI, April 4, 2010.

Here is a description of the equivalent call from the closely related Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

On the nesting grounds, males deliver their display songs from conspicuous perches as loud “TIKa, TIKa, TIKa” or “kit, kit, kit, kit, kit…” notes.
http://www.birding.in/birds/Charadriiformes/Scolopacidae/common_snipe.htm

(see this blog post for additional examples http://pjdeye.blogspot.com/2009/05/shorebird-calls-iii-woodcock-and-snipe.html)

The “scaipe” call is commonly heard when snipe are flushed. They shoot up from the marsh or wet meadow and fly in a zig-zag pattern, usually uttering several of these calls. Here is an example of a bird recorded in exactly this type of situation as I was walking at the edge of a marsh:
Wilson's Snipe scaipe call
Wilson's Snipe scaipe call
Wilson’s Snipe scaipe call, Kettle Moraine, Waukesha County, WI, April 4, 2010.

Leave a Reply