The American Woodcock is an odd bird:
- It’s a shorebird that lives in the woods
- It’s camouflage makes it virtually invisible but some how a half million are taken annually by hunters .
- And it just plain looks odd
We didn’t get one last year so this year I went out in the late March cold to see if I could catch their incredible mating ritual.
At exactly 22 minutes after sunset, the male Woodcock begin to buzz out in the middle of a field or meadow. When he is ready he leaps into the air, flying straight up for several hundred feet before spiraling to the ground . . . the air whistling through his feathers.
This evening I waited for an hour in a cold wet meadow hoping to hear and/or see the ritual.
Right on time I found myself surrounded by buzzing Woodcocks. In the fading light I struggled to see the little birds but it was very difficult. Suddenly right in front of me, a Woodcock launched into the air and quickly flew out of sight . . . I heard the whistling as he came down . . . but never found him again.
As the last bit of light faded from the sky, I stumbled back to the car . . . hearing Woodcocks buzzing all around me.
Very exciting but was really good to felt good when the heat in the car came on.