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Woodcock's Sky Dance

It is an ancient music. The mating song of the male American Woodcock. To hear it, step out into the dusk of a quiet spring evening in the Connecticut countryside. In the twilight, or in the moonlight, you may hear him more than see him spiral high in his sky dance. The air rushing past his wing feathers makes a twittering sound. Learn more about the American Woodcock at Cornell's All About Birds.

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Woodcock’s Sky Dance

Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.
[Liquid chirps of the male American Woodcock’s mating flight]
It is an ancient music. To hear it, step out into the dusk of a quiet spring evening in the Connecticut countryside. Alternate line: To hear it, step out into the dusk of a quiet spring evening in the countryside.  [Liquid chirps of the male American Woodcock]
This is the mating song of the male American Woodcock. In the twilight, or in the moonlight, you may hear him more than see him spiral high in his sky dance. The air rushing past his wing feathers makes this twittering sound. [Woodcock wing twittering]
Reaching the zenith of his flight he hovers, pouring out his song.
[Liquid chirps of the male American Woodcock] Then he drops like a falling leaf, zigzagging to the ground. And his song is only part of his repertoire. Returned to earth, he struts stiff-legged to impress his mate, uttering a sound that may remind you of a nighthawk’s call. [“Peent” sound of American Woodcock]
It is an impressive display for an otherwise seldom-seen, long-billed denizen of boggy thickets.
Their flight and native habitat have given the woodcock a series of names including Timberdoodle, bog bird, Labrador twister, and night-peck. In Louisiana, where many winter, they’re sometimes called Becasse (pronounced bay-cass), a name derived from the French word for snipe.
Listen and watch for their courtship display – the twilight sky dance of the woodcock – in March, April, and May.
For BirdNote, I’m Frank Corrado.
###

Call of the provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2008 Tune In to Nature.org                      

 ID# AMWO-01-2008-05-06-WNPR

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