American Woodcocks are strange little creatures packed with a lot of personality. The photos above and below were taken on the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area Boardwalk. This Woodcock was resting, bathing, and posing for birders this spring.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the American Woodcock spends most of their time in fields and on the forest floor, where they probe for earthworms. They often rock back and forth while walking along the ground. There are viral videos of American Woodcocks (also called Timber Doodles) doing their rocking walk: doodle on.
The video below was taken on February 21, 2018. I had only been working at Black Swamp Bird Observatory less than a month. Executive Director Kim Kaufman and Research Director Mark Shieldcastle were kind enough to take me down the Gallagher Trail behind BSBO and witness the Timber Doodles’ “sky dance”. All three of us were so excited to hear the “peent peent” of the spring ritual. I know that they have seen and heard it a million times before, but their excitement for the phenomenon was still there. This was definitely one of my favorite birding moments.