Around the time the clocks spring forward, it’s usually a good time to remember to go outside at dusk.
There’s a strange noise in the woods. It’s not a cat. It’s not a bird. It is certainly not a fox. But it is one of those rare spectacles in nature that comes along but once a year for about a week. The male American Woodcock tries his darnedest to attract a mate through a unique display of song and dance.
These reclusive birds that look much like a cross between a brown thrasher and sandpiper are stout birds about robin sized. They’re highly camouflaged to their leaf matter and brush surroundings. Thus, they are rarely seen, but if you listen patiently and long enough you will be rewarded with the unique sounds of the American Woodcock.
BirdNote did a nice little dog and pony show about this unique bird. You can listen here:
Sadly, this little bird is suffering from habitat destruction in our area. Thankfully, the Sourland Conservancy in our area offers a way to help out this showman of a bird. See the link below if this is something that interests you.
Drawing of woodcock courtesy of my sister Suzanne.