This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Snipe (Gallinago coelestis), included in the sub-family Scolopacinae, is to some extent migratory, being found in Britain chiefly in winter. It inhabits marshy districts and fens, and is found generally throughout Britain by small streams and even ditches in both hilly districts or moorlands and in flat localities. The average length of the bird is about 10 in. The general colour is shades of brown, variously streaked and marked, the under-parts being white. It nests in Britain, though not very commonly, the nest being formed of leaves on the ground and under a tuft of grass or small furze bush. The eggs, numbering four, are olive-white, spotted with brown. The food consists of worms, snails, woodlice, and insects, chiefly in larval state. When pursued the Snipe usually takes flight in a zigzag fashion, and thus renders it difficult to take a steady aim.
The Great Snipe (Gallinago major) may occasionally be met with on swampy places and heaths, and the Jack Snipe (Gallinago galli-nula) is chiefly found in Britain in winter, and is generally seen by small streams or ditches. The length of the Great Snipe is about 12 in., and it feeds chiefly on insect larvae of various kinds.