I’ve probably walked by dozens of mudflats with Wilson’s Snipes in them, without realizing I should have lifted my binoculars to my eyes to peruse the piles of mud in search of the shorebird.
While Wilson’s Snipes are considered a widespread shorebird in North America, they can be hard to find.
For me, they look like piles of mud.
The plump brown bird with long bill and distinctive buffy streaks down its back blends in well with the colors of mudflats in spring.
They move slowly as they search for insect larvae and other invertebrates in mudflats and wet meadows.
Like the Horned Lark that blends well into brown grass in late fall and early spring, I’ve had to train myself to look for moving dirt in mudflats to find the Wilson’s Snipe.
Sometimes I’m lucky to spot the long bill of the Snipe, but it’s rare.
I learned the winnowing sound made by Wilson’s Snipes in breeding season is made from the tail feathers of males performing aerial acrobatics while defending their territory or trying to attract mates.