The American woodcock is a small-sized bird that is truly remarkable, as it has the ability to somehow make a dance show in the forest.
This bird has many nicknames. During time it has been called the Timberdoodle, the Bog-Borer and the Mud-Bat. According to scientists at the Ornithology Lab of Cornell University, the American woodcock is considered a shorebird species which much prefers the forest. Mike Limatola, one of lead guides who is responsible for guided walks for woodcock sightseeing in the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge for the last ten years, stated that woodcocks prefer to live in areas where there is a forest or roaming around open fields with lots of brushes and moist ground, as such areas are full of earthworms which is stated to be their favourite food. Earthworms are stated to be 60 to 80 percent of woodcocks’ daily food intake. The woodcocks are very
good and are almost designed for only catching them. They are considered squat birds. The have big feet and long bills. To catch worms, it is reported that they stamp their feet to stir the worms up. They then use their outer portion of their bill to remove them from the ground. Several researches indicate that the woodcocks’ bills have several sensors that are responsible for detecting any worm saliva on the ground for up to twenty-four hours.
In addition, it is stated that their eyes are placed on the back of their head. This is done for their own protection to look around and protect themselves from any predators. These birds are very lovable because of their unusual looks. They have really long bills and big eyes, but they possess very beautiful pattern of colours. It is stated by wardens in the Refuge that the best time of the day to go see them is approximately at dusk. The reason for that is their incredible dancing abilities. During that time, male woodcocks have several dancing techniques.
They usually start with an extraordinary buzzing sound which is called peent. When they do that, their dancing show starts and contains several moves: they tend to fly in circles at a small height and they make some odd chirps simultaneously to attract the female woodcocks and pair. In the National Wildlife Magazine, Edward Nickens described this phenomenon as a thrilling twitter which feels like turning a rusted screw, while seeing small birds orbiting and doing circles.
Woodcocks during this incredible dancing show tend to scribe two large circles in the air. Afterwards, they suddenly land really quick to the ground, making the moves of a falling leaf and they chirp when they descent. They tend to land next to three tall cedars and they brace themselves with a stiff-legged and rhythmic walk. Then, woodcocks are sky-rocketed again towards the sky moon and conclude their show with an enthusiastic flying dance which is specifically designed for attracting females.
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There are several places where woodcocks are seen doing this remarkable act. They particularly live in Laurel Hill County Park, Secaucus, USA. This is a show definitely not to be missed.