An unusual back yard visitor

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Chuck4
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

I've had a very unsusual bird hanging out in my back yard for the past two days. I think it is a Wilson's Snipe. It has been very wet here over the past three days, and then it froze. So my back yard has become what seems like a micro arctic tundra of sorts with ice and little streamlets. I have never seen one of these before. Here is a shot of the booger:






Image
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taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Looks like what we call a woodcock here in southern Illinois. Probably same family.
Hanover Bill
Posts: 616
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 3:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania/Hanover Township
Martin Colony History: 2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72

Chuck;

I would agree with "taxidermy lady", here in Pennsylvania that looks like a "Woodcock".

Interesting bird, the local State Park usually puts on a Woodcock mating ritual watch in the spring. Just at dusk they will fly straight up and then dive down, and keep repeating that behavior. I attended it one year, but my eyes weren't good enough to see much in the low light of dusk.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

Hanover Bill.
2009 & 10 - 0
2011 & 12 - Visitors
2013 - 2 pr. fledged 9
2014 - 3 pr. fledged 13
2015 - 7 pr. fledged 27
2016 - 15 pr. fledged 72
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

You are right, Chuck, it is a Wilson's Snipe - neat bird! They look similar to woodcock, but the head stripes run lengthwise on snipe, crosswise on woodcock, which also has more prominent eyes, to me - one of my fave birds. They both do really awesome flight displays.

http://www.timberdoodle.org/biology
bluetick
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:21 am
Location: New Lexington, Ohio

I have woodcocks on my place here in Ohio and they are fun when they have babies. If you walk up on one it will act like it is hurt and when you walk toward it she will fly about 15 yards and this start all over with the hurt game until she leads you away from the little ones. The little ones will hide real fast when you walk up on them. I like them. Dave
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Dave, that sounds a lot like killdeer - they lay eggs right on gravel driveways, parking areas, etc, and are pros at the broken wing act. Woodcock nest on ground too, but not out in open - they prefer wooded areas.

Is this your buddy? http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/killdeer/videos
bluetick
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:21 am
Location: New Lexington, Ohio

Louise we have killdeer that build here at work in the gravel and they are like you say. We always mark their nests so no one will run over them. If you get close to their eggs they will puff up like an old sitting hen to protect their nest. That was my friend in high school's ( few years ago. LOL! ) favorite bird and he did a real nice chart and report on the Killdeer. Have a nice day and I hope spring is about ready to come to Ohio. I have my gourds ready in the garage to move to the gourd poles. Go Martins in 2014. Dave
Kathy in VA
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:24 am
Location: Virginia/Scottsburg
Martin Colony History: It took me 11 years to get martins. It finally happened in 2010! Been going strong, ever since! I have a 12-gourd rack, full and overflowing!! I love this hobby!

That Cornell website Louise posted is a great resource for bird identification: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search
Another helpful one is WhatBird: http://identify.whatbird.com/mwg/_/0/attrs.aspx
(These are free, but you must have internet access to use the databases.)

And this is a terrific App you can buy for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and maybe other devices. It is called iBird Pro Guide to Birds. http://ibird.com/app/iphone/ibird-pro-guide-to-birds/ Once you download it, all the information is ‘inside’ your hand-held device and does not require an internet or cell phone signal—which is great for birding out in the woods.
I find that my small handheld iPod is much easier to carry in my pocket and simpler to use than fumbling through the index and pages of a Field Guide, especially when out on the trail doing Bird Counts. It includes 938 bird species of North America. You can sort the list based on last name or first name; for example, you would probably look for Tree Swallow under its first name, ‘Tree’. But if you can’t remember whether the official name of a gray bird is American Mockingbird or Northern Mockingbird, you can switch to the last name and look for just ‘Mockingbird’. If you want to compare several sparrows, you can see the list or pictures with all the different types of sparrows grouped together...set it on Last Name, touch the S, and you can scroll thru all 36 birds that have Sparrow in their name. Or you can hunt by families...all the ducks. It has drawings and photographs, bird songs and calls, facts, a Bird Search feature (by location, size, colors, the habitat where you saw it, the time of year, etc.), and it lists other species that look similar, and have similar-sounding songs. You can even upload your own photos for your own reference, share them, or submit them and maybe one day in the future, the whole country will see them on birding apps or websites!

No, I do not work for any of these producers and won’t get any financial compensation for telling you about these!...I just enjoy learning about good products and like to share with others the resources that have been helpful to me.
Kathy in VA
kgwaguespack
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:54 pm
Location: Texas/Kingwood

Hello Chuck - as Louise said it looks like a snipe to me. We used to hunt those in South Louisiana 30+ years ago. They are good-tasting game birds, similar to dove. They fly very high and then do a sort of a dive-bomb thing. When they take off, they fly every which way but loose and stay low for a while before rocketing up into the sky.
2002-2004 - Newbie; fledged a few martins
2005-2012 - dormant/moved residence
2013 - no success
2014 - second attempt; no dice
Chuck4
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

Thanks for all of the comments folks! :) I found it very interesting to be visited by such a rare visitor. It seems to like my back yard too. I have gone out there to have a look around and been startled by it flying off abruptly. I have some raised beds where I have put down a bunch of dead grasses near the back of them (actually for the Barn Swallows to use as nesting materials when they return). It likes to hang out there, and it blends in so well that I don't even see it until it flies off (very quickly). It has been feeding in my yard. I guess there must be a lot of grubs and bugs just under the soil's surface.
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zag
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:08 am
Location: MI

Your right, it's a Wilson's Snipe. Stripes on its head, and body, always go back, from head to tail. Colors vary in different states.
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