In “On the Move,” our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Wilson’s Snipe, pictured above, in our October 2014 issue.
Wilson’s Snipe, one of the most widespread shorebirds in North America, breeds in Canada, Alaska, and northern areas of the lower 48 states and winters from southeastern Alaska to South America. The map at left, based on July reports over the last 10 years, shows that the snipe breeds as far north as Barrow, Alaska, and Richards Island, Yukon, as far east as Newfoundland, and along both Hudson and James Bays. The map at right shows where the bird has been reported in October, when it is moving south. Purple squares in the Caribbean and other tropical regions likely indicate birds that have reached their wintering areas. Snipe are secretive, and the areas where they occur often have more cover than those used by most other shorebirds. Your first indication of a snipe may be to hear one call skipe! before flushing, sometimes from underfoot.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the October 2014 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.