Nature: Snipe's aerial courtship ritual worth seeing, hearing
Wilson's snipe is noted for its long bill and large eyes/Jim McCormac
April 29, 2018
To sing with the wind, the courting snipe whips into shallow dives while flaring its tail. Air distorted by the tail feathers creates an eerie, ethereal winnowing sound like the distant quaver of an amplified musical saw. Smitten with his bizarre sound-making ability, a singing snipe might remain aloft for a half-hour.
Although Wilson’s snipe is one of North America’s most abundant shorebirds, most Ohioans have probably never seen one. Scores pass through in migration, headed to northern nesting grounds, but breeders are very rare here. Most nesting records come from the northern tier of counties.