American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 31

DOWITCHER (Macrorhamphus griseus griscus). Dowitchers are divided into two races: the present, which is the eastern form, and the Long-billed Dowitcher, which is supposed to be chiefly western. The former probably breeds in northern Ungava and Arctic islands and migrates chiefly along the Atlantic coast; the latter breeds along the Arctic coast west of Hudson Bay and migrates through the western part of Mississippi Valley, both wintering from the Gulf States to South America. Since the distinction is dependent wholly upon size and length of bills, and these features among shore birds are always very variable, they may well be considered as one variety, as in all probability they are.

     Like most of the sandpipers a great difference exists between the summer and winter plumages, the latter being composed only of grays and whites, as shown by the small bird in the upper background. Although very small, only a trifle more than 10 in. In length, they are shot in great quantities; while quite wary, they very readily decoy and consequently are very easy to secure. They are known by a great variety of names, most common of which are " Red-breasted Snipe," "Robin Snipe," "Brown Snipe," "German Snipe" and "Gray-back," some referring to the summer and some to the winter plumages. They are quite gregarious and are usually seen in large flocks during migrations, though sometimes a few mix with flocks of other species.


STILT SANDPIPER (Micropalama himantopus). These are among the least often seen of the smaller shore birds and are most frequently observed in with flocks of smaller kinds. They themselves are tiny, measuring less than 9 in. in length and are consequently not often shot; yet they are yearly becoming scarcer and apparently will soon not be found at all. Several years ago I used to see flocks of from ten to fifty individuals, but the last few years I have seen only one or two Stilt Sandpipers in with flocks of the smaller Least and Semi-palmated varieties. They are not in the least timid and allow anyone to approach within a few feet of them.