Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

American Woodcock

Look! Up in the sky! It's a ... woodcock!
© Lloyd Spitalnik View Large

At sunset, the male American Woodcock - a plump, robin-sized bird - walks slowly on short legs from the cover of the forest to a nearby clearing. After a few sharp calls, the woodcock takes flight. As it spirals upward, slim, stiff feathers at its wingtips create a curious 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. The woodcock's odd looks and sounds have earned it many colorful nicknames. The most memorable? Timberdoodle!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

American Woodcock -
Doodling with Woodcocks

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—a plump, robin-sized bird—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 beautifully patterned gray back and 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. The most memorable? Timberdoodle. Let’s listen to the timberdoodle one more time.

###

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
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org     April 2015     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#  AMWO-02-2008-06-18-KPLU

 

Sights & Sounds

Related topics:

Related field notes:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More