American Woodcock

Posted on in Recent Sightings by Hawk Mountain

American Woodcock in the Snow

Staff at the Acopian Center were fortunate enough to witness the performance of one feathered dancer in the meadow beside the science building. Around dusk, the familiar peent call of an American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) began, followed by the twittering sound of wings fluttering upward in a fantastic spiral across the evening sky. This sky dance is the courtship display of a male woodcock.

Also known as timberdoodle or bogsucker, this amusingly whimsical bird is usually ground-dwelling, residing on forest floors and in fields. Their plumage allows them to perfectly camouflage to the vegetation and leaf litter, making them incredibly hard to find. Most often sightings occur during the mating performances in early spring until late March. They feed on worms, probing the soil with their long, straight beak. 

Photo by Bill Moses.