Friday, April 5, 2013

American Woodcock

I drove over to Sudbury Valley Trustees Waters and Weir Field (a small field at the side of Edmands Road) in Framingham tonight with hopes of seeing an American Woodcock.  The American Woodcock looks like a shorebird, but it lives in the woods.  At this time of year, it comes out of the woods at dusk and performs aerial displays in hopes of attracting a female.   After a bit of waiting and wondering if I would even be able to hear its sound with all the traffic that was zooming past, I did hear it!

Another couple arrived about 15 minutes after me also hoping to see the woodcock.  I told them I had already heard it but had not yet seen it.  She was maintaining two bluebird nesting boxes on the property, opening them up and frightening off some sparrows that were trying to settle in them.  The man said that if they did that enough times, the sparrows would leave, and the bluebirds would be able to move in.  After a few minutes, and our return to silence, the woodcock started peenting again.

The woman, familiar with the property, traipsed right into the overgrowth towards the sound of the American Woodcock, and not too much later, we followed her as she had found the spot where the American Woodcock was peenting.  It flew up and did one of its mating displays (flying up up up above us about 300 feet and then spiraling back to earth).  It landed back out in the field where we had been before.  This time, the man spotted it and we all got wonderful views of it through our binoculars, watching it peent over and over until it got tired of us and flew off again, this time landing back in the overgrowth.  It was by this time too dark for photos.

It was a great view of an odd looking bird and a good start to the weekend!  I'm including a photo from Wikipedia, since I did not get one of my own, just so you can all have an idea what a funny looking and interesting bird it is!

American Woodcock
Photo by guizmo_68 [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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