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American Woodcock - Timberdoodle

Funny name for a funny bird!

As the sun sets on a northern Midwest forest, an American Woodcock walks slowly from the cover of the forest to a nearby clearing. Then, the woodcock takes off on a courtship flight. At the apex of its flight, the woodcock circles, then descends in a slow spiral, putt-putting like a tiny car about to run out of gas. Learn more about American Woodcock conservation at Timberdoodle.org.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

American Woodcock - Timberdoodle

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote!

[Display sounds of an American Woodcock]
As the sun sets on a northern Midwest forest, we hear a most peculiar sound. [Repeat flight twittering/chirps of American Woodcock]
It’s an American Woodcock, aloft on a courtship flight. At sunset, the male woodcock walks slowly on short legs from the cover of the forest to a nearby clearing. After a few sharp calls [“Peent” calls], the woodcock takes flight. As it spirals upward, slim, stiff feathers at its wingtips create a curious twittering. [A bit of the twittering] At the apex of its flight, the woodcock circles, then descends in a slow spiral, putt-putting like a tiny car about to run out of gas.
As it lands, we can see in the last light its beautiful orange belly. With a slender bill half as long as its body, the woodcock specializes in eating earthworms. The male will display at dawn and dusk for more than two months each spring.
The woodcock’s odd looks and sounds have earned it many colorful nicknames, including Labrador twister, bogsucker, mudsnipe, skydancer, pop-eyed shot-dodger, and timberdoodle.
To assure the future of the timberdoodle, the Woodcock Task Force is restoring brushy, young forest habitats where the birds can thrive.
[Today’s show brought to you by the Lufkin Family Foundation.] I'm Mary McCann.
[Repeat flight twittering/chirps of American Woodcock]
###
Call of the American Woodcock provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.F. Budney.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org        April 2013        Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  was AMWO-02-2008-06-18-KPLU   SotB-AMWO-01-2011-04-23

comment 1 Show

I first observed this when I was around age ten. I was fascinated over it, and went home to eat dinner with the family. I was trying to explain it to my parents and siblings, who all rolled their eyes thinking I was making it up as I went along. Dad said "I want to see this" and so I offered to take him the following evening. He got to see it in person, and so did many of my friends years later.
I have not heard one here in this part of New Jersey in maybe 30 years. Loss of habitat.

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