Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata—Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge; Stevensville, Montana: I posted three images from the Wilson’s Snipe photo shoot on July 5th (go to http://www.bobbyharrison.blogspot.com/2012/07/pic-of-day.html). When I was looking at images to post today I came across this photo. The image reminded me of just how amazing birds are, especially the Wilson’s Snipe.
If you look close enough (click on image to enlarge) you can see that the tip of the snipe’s bill in this image is slightly open. Snipes, along with a few other shorebirds, Long billed Curlew, Short and Long billed Dowitcher to name a few, exhibit the ability to open and close the tips of their bills without moving the base of their bills.
The Wilson’s Snipe forages for worms, leeches, crustaceans and mollusks just below the surface of soft soil. Sensitive never ending in the tip of the bill allow the bird to feel the prey and grab it with its flexible bill tip. Just amazing!
The following is from: http://www.sangorgonio.sierraclub.org/mountains/animals/birds/sandpipers.htm“It is one of the few shorebirds that can still be hunted legally. It stays well hidden in ground cover, is well camouflaged, flushes abruptly, and zigzags sharply in flight, all habits that make it difficult to shoot and therefore a favorite challenge to hunters. The word sniper derives from snipe. The verb "to snipe " originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India where a hunter skilled enough to kill the elusive snipe was dubbed a "sniper."”
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/25 second @ f9, Gitzo Tripod, Arca Swiss Monoball