Wildlife Wednesday 04/03/2024

Happy #WildlifeWednesday! Peent! It’s the time of year for American Woodcocks to display! The courtship flights and rituals can be observed in fields, pastures, forest openings, and other clearings at dawn and dusk during the spring.

Affectionately nicknamed the “timberdoodle,” the American Woodcock is a plump round shorebird that lives in forest thickets, probing moist soil with its long prehensile beak for earthworms and other invertebrates.

Its mottled plumage with a pattern that allows for excellent camouflage and its secretive nature make this bird hard to notice, with the exception of the dazzling mating performance. After letting out the signature buzzy, nasal “peent” call, a male will fly upward in a spiral. At the peak height of the trajectory, the wings make a twittering sound as air rushes through the primary feathers. He then chirps and sings as he descends in a zigzag. 

On the ground, the male bobs and bows with his wings stretched vertically, still singing and peent-ing. The female hens will approach if interested, and the remarkable display can happen over and over.

Woodcocks are famous for this elaborate sky dance, which is a true sign of spring and an amazing spectacle to observe. Peent!

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