Great Snipe - Gallinago media

June 06, 2011

My fellow Field Museum volunteer Meera Lee Sethi is currently hiking through the wilds of Sweden at the Lake Ånnsjön Bird Observatory in the village of Handöl. She's there this summer working as a volunteer field assistant, banding (or "ringing" if you want to use the local lingo) Great Snipes. To cover travel expenses, Meera created a Kickstarter fundraiser. Her backers (of which I am one!) have been enjoying her updates and beautiful photographs from the field. Meera is also planning to release a book of essays called The Language of Birds. Some of the books, which will include my illustrations, will serve as gifts to her Kickstarter backers. During her time as a Field Museum volunteer, Meera has become a dedicated and skilled member of the zoology prep lab, and so it is really exciting to see her extend her knowledge and experience in this manner.

Check out Meera's excellent writing HERE.

Great Snipes are native to northern Europe, and are known for migrating enormous distances. They winter in Africa, and the males use leks to display to attract mates. They prefer marsh habitat, and forage like other birds of the genus Gallinago: by poking their long bills in to the mud via a sort of sewing motion. As with other snipe species, they can be hard to spot due to their cryptic plumage. All in all a very interesting species to be studying.

Best of luck, Meera!


  1. I love the snipe!! It is so great to see you painting again and posting so many great pieces. Yay!!

  2. Diana! What a wonderful post and painting; I am SO excited about your illustrations for this book. I have started outlining chapter ideas but I'm so overwhelmed with new things right now that I think this is still a time for intake, not output. :)

    I'm actually spending most of my time right now tracking female snipes that had radio transmitters put on them when they were ringed (banded). It involves a good deal of mountain-hiking and I hear beeps (the signal sound) in my head when I dream...

    Thank you so much for this post. Thinking of you and the lab!

  3. Thanks, Laurie! (and Hello!)

    Meera: I am really excited to be able to be included in your project! I look forward to the time when you are ready to start, and we can talk ideas. : ) Until then, keep an eye (or ear) on those female snipes!


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