Monday, March 30, 2009

Manic Monday - Birds


Have you ever been "Snipe Hunting"? If you read that and chuckled a bit, then obviously you have taken someone hunting for an imaginary bird. If you groaned, then perhaps you were the recipient of such hoax. The classic scenario involves the unsuspected being taken into a field at night, given a flashlight and a garbage bag or some sort of sack and told to wait until the other pranksters send the snipes their way. The unsuspected "hunter" must realize the importance of being very still and quiet while holding open the sack in order for the snipe to be unaware of it's pending doom. While the virgin hunter waits in the open field listening to all of the scary noises around them, they don't realize that the others have gone home and left them to fend for themselves. Soon enough, the realize the joke's on them. This sort of bird hunting has been practiced for many generations, but did you know that there is a bird called a snipe and that there really is a such thing as snipe hunting with guns?

Indeed, the snipe is a real bird. A small plump member of the sandpiper family, a snipe is brown with distinctive white stripes on its head and back and white belly. They look similar to a woodcock, but are less stocky with more stripes and a longer bill. Their eyes are set far back in their head which enables them to see both forward and back. When startled, they take off flying in a rapid zig-zag pattern. They also have the ability to swim and dive, using their feet and wings underwater, to escape from enemies.

Snipes nest in wet meadows and boggy areas from Alaska to New Jersey, and winter farther south. They move together in flocks at night, but scatter during the day to feed alone. They seem to be more active on cloudy days. They feed by plunging their long bills into mud in search of insects and grubs. The bill is soft and pliable with a hard tip, and full of nerve endings that allows the snipe to smell and feel the movements and scents of various types of prey.

When hunting for the real snipe, it's best to dress for wet conditions and pack lightly. When hunting for the prankster snipe, it's best to be the one leading the hunt!

Have you seen a real snipe or hunted for an imaginary one?

13 comments, add yours here:

Janna said...

Back in the 80's, I remember seeing an episode of "Cheers" where the guys took Frasier "snipe hunting".

Poor Frasier. :)

Amazing Gracie said...

Ha! I hadn't thought of that episode of "Cheers" in a long time!
Yeah, I've been on a Snipe hunt! Fortunately, I wasn't on the receiving end of it...In fact, it was in Arkansas!!!
~~~Blessings~~~

anthonynorth said...

This sounds a rewarding activity - for the prankster :-)

Jamie said...

I've seen the Snipe, but fortunately knew about the "joke" and didn't fall for the invitation to be foolish.

star8278 said...

I've fallen for this before, but my Dad's version included a flash light and walking around rented cabins in Canada with a flashlight. I think more than once, I hear the term "crazy american".

Villager said...

Happy MM! I learned something new here this morning...

I invite your blog readers to remember why the caged bird sings.

peace, Villager

Patois said...

I think you've made it all up and that is really a duck in "snipe" clothing...er, feathers.

Tink *~*~* said...

I too remember the episode of Cheers ;)

Happy sniping!

Tink *~*~*
Colorful birds from

Orlando, Florida

Kim said...

I was the one that fell for this once with a bunch of my friends at a church camp out. Then the next year we did it to another new set of campers. It was a yearly tradition and we all had some good clean fun with it.

I however never knew that there really was a bird out there like it!

Thanks for the memories!

Gayle said...

Summer in Alaska means broad daylight in the middle of the night. Snipe hunting would lose its effect here! Fun post and cute bird!

john said...

never saw one, never hunted one. But im not a hunter..lol. But I love the story. hmmmmm im just thinking of someone i can take snipe hunting. It sounds like a blast.

Mo said...

of course, i'm the type of person who wants to know how 'snipe hunting' became a practical joke thing... poor snipes, they're like the Rodney Dangerfields of the waterfowl world!
great post ~ thanks for participating in Manic Mondays!

Travis said...

I think some people fall for the gag because they've heard about the real snipe, but don't have enough details about the hunting of it.