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STOKES BIRDING BLOG: American Woodcock Astounding Habits!!



 “Peent!!” Go listen for the nasal call of American Woodcocks, who are returning to their breeding grounds across much of the eastern U.S. and very southern Canada. Wow, what a great bird!! Those shoe button eyes on top of its head allow it to look for predators while it feeds on earthworms with its bill stuck in the ground.

One of the most astounding things about woodcocks is the males’ courtship display. After giving multiple “peents” he rises in the air in a spiral, hundreds of feet high and you could hear his wings making a twittering sound. At the very top of his flight, he makes a canary-like chirping for several seconds, as he begins his descent. After landing, he begins his “peent” calls again.

Male woodcocks do courtship displays, at dusk and dawn, in open fields, hoping to attract as many females as they can. Females go to the fields, choose and mate with a male, then go into the woods and nest and raise the young by themselves. The young are born fully feathered and can walk and soon feed themselves.

If you live near open fields you can go and listen for woodcock displays and witness this amazing woodcock behavior for yourself. Getting more deeply into the lives and behavior of the birds around you takes you out of your world and connects you to something larger. Enjoy!

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