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Timberdoodle [Video]

American Woodcock photo by Grace – April 2007

One of the easiest ways of finding the American Woodcock (aka Timberdoodle) is to take a trip into a wet meadow around dusk and then wait. Not long after the sun sets you will witness one the most amazing flight display of any of our birds here in the North East. The male Timberdoodle will do its peent call for about 10 or 15 minutes and then take flight into the sky in a circular direction! The American Woodcock has developed a unique flight feather that allows the bird to create a whistle sound when heading towards the sky! After 2 or 3 circles, the bird will return to the earth with the most beautiful lullabies that you will ever hear! Once it has returned to the same location in which it started . . . the American Woodcock will return in peenting again and then repeat its flight display until it’s too dark to see! Below is the video that I captured on Easter Sunday of their display here in Allegany State Park!

When I captured this video, I had 5 different Woodcocks doing their flight displays with the anticipation of courting any of the local females that were impressed with the birds display. The Timberdoodles will continue to do their displays well into May and it makes me smile with every peent that I hear. Experiencing the flight display is a perfect way to get your family together and enjoy some of our most amazing birds in the world!

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42 responses

  1. It made me smile too! That is THE coolest video you’ve ever done Tom. I’m going with a group that Birdchick is leading a week from Saturday- can’t wait!

    26 March 2008 at 8:01 pm

  2. Tom- Awesome video. I loved the animated peents- made me laugh out loud actually. Never been out to see the flight of the timberdoodles- you’ve inspired me to do this. I have, however, flushed them during the day from about 5 feet away and they have always scared the crap out of me.


    26 March 2008 at 8:09 pm

  3. Thanks for that. It warms my south-Ontarian heart.

    26 March 2008 at 8:10 pm

  4. Lisa at Greenbow

    I am just greeen with envy. We haven’t been out to see them yet. Lazy birders…bad. You must have a good camera because I could hear their wings flutter a couple of times. Coool.

    26 March 2008 at 8:22 pm

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I will have to look for them this year. They seem quite elusive and secretive.

    26 March 2008 at 8:23 pm

  6. Displaying Woodcocks brings me back to my childhood. We had a wet field behind the house and every spring we would have the wonderful sound of Timberdoodles! Thanks for the video.

    26 March 2008 at 9:00 pm

  7. Very cool, another video coup.

    I’ve never heard them called timberdoodles before, however.

    26 March 2008 at 9:25 pm

  8. Tom, that video is hilarious. I hope to see or hear a woodcock one day… Thanks for sharing. Now I’ll know what to listen for in the dark hours.

    26 March 2008 at 10:16 pm

  9. I’ve never seen these wonderful birds. Their peent is very sweet. I wish we had them here in the pacific northwest, but we don’t. More videos would be much appreciated.

    26 March 2008 at 10:21 pm

  10. LOB

    You were right Tom – I do love that video! Those “peent”s are great. What a wonderful sound! Spring is on the way.
    Thanks for being a great teacher.

    26 March 2008 at 10:46 pm

  11. @ Lynne – Thanks for such kind words and I am working on adding more video’s to the site! I am also working on someone making me some background music for me to include with my other videos! Although, obtaining copyright music isn’t easy to get! Tell Birdchick hello for me please!
    @ Tom – thanks and it was a last touch that I included at the last second before hitting publish! They do have a way of scaring you when you approach them! Do get out and look for their display!
    @ Hugh – Thanks and glad it made you happy!
    @ Lisa – thanks and hope you do get out soon! I am always looking for their early date and last Sunday was my first chance to find them! Thanks and were you able to see the bird I captured on film? I did boost the audio on this so that we could hear them better! I think you can hear me holding the camera also!
    @ Ruth – They are not that secretive but then again they are! Thanks
    @ Vern – So glad to bring back the childhood memories! Remember all kids should have memories like this . . . so get all the kids you know out to have this memory!
    @ Wren – Thanks and some people call them that! Old farmers name!
    @ Mary – working on improving my videos and glad you enjoyed it! If you never head out to find them . . . you now know what your missing!
    @ Robin – Thanks and its an experience you will never forget! Maybe you need a road trip!!! And, I do plan on doing more videos this year! Well that’s why I purchased a camcorder a few months ago!
    @ Linda – thanks and was wonderful seeing you tonight at the RTPI meeting! Glad you enjoyed this, now we all need to get out and seem these guys in person!

    26 March 2008 at 11:09 pm

  12. That was so cool! And loved the way you had the ‘peents’ on screen! You sure have a lot of fun!

    26 March 2008 at 11:13 pm

  13. I’m enjoying this blog.. off to subscribe. Lovely stuff!

    26 March 2008 at 11:26 pm

  14. Grace

    Love this cool relative of the elusive snipe. Youall know about snipe hunts for sure! 😮

    26 March 2008 at 11:38 pm

  15. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience! Where do they live? I’m wondering if they can also be found in Western Canada? I would love to have this experience myself…

    27 March 2008 at 12:25 am

  16. That was so amazingly cool. (I really liked the word peent coming up too it gave me the giggles.) It really makes you wonder where good old fashioned courting went hum? Left to the birds? How romantic, as I watched your video, I was rooting for the guy to find his perfect mate!

    27 March 2008 at 1:38 am

  17. Ah, so THAT’s the peent sound! I’ll be sure to listen for it. Great video Tom!

    27 March 2008 at 6:53 am

  18. winterwoman

    Oh, I’ll have to go up to Bergman Park this evening to see if “my” woodcock is calling yet… Cool video, for sure…

    27 March 2008 at 8:15 am

  19. I’ve never seen a woodcock–or heard them.
    What a wonderful bird caught on film!

    27 March 2008 at 8:43 am

  20. I was really looking forward to our post about the woodcock. Just loved it! As with most state parks, ours closes at dusk. We can drive but aren’t suppose to be out of the cars. (Makes it kind of hard to spot owls, too.) But to see and hear something like that, I’d be willing to take my chances. I hope I can witness the woodcock’s display in person.

    27 March 2008 at 8:49 am

  21. OOoops, I didn’t mean “our” post, ha. I meant your post.

    27 March 2008 at 8:50 am

  22. I love the Timberdoodles!

    27 March 2008 at 9:13 am

  23. I have not heard that peent! yet this year, but look forward to it. Timberdoodle is one of the best bird names!

    Good birding!

    27 March 2008 at 11:15 am

  24. @ Barb – Thanks and I decided to do the peents at the last second!
    @ Hilary – Thanks and glad to have you join! Send your friends over!
    @ Grace – Thanks again for letting me use that photo! I will try to capture the snipe display here soon!
    @ Pinar – Glad you enjoyed this, they live in the forest edge, early forest, shrubby areas! But display in adjacent wet meadows! They are only found on the eastern side of the North America!
    @ Aullori – So glad you enjoyed this and it’s even better in real life! Thanks and lets continue to root for the guy each night !
    @ Jayne – that’s the peent sound and be sure to go look for them! They should be in your area around dusk!
    @ Jen – please do and should be any day that they are back!
    @ Nina – Thanks and they are very cool birds! Wasn’t easy but did it for you guys!
    @ Linda – Thanks and I had just told grace how long it took me to edit that video! Allegany is a 24/7 park. Let us know if you do find one!
    @ Patrick – Thanks
    @ Birdfreak – do get out, they should return here soon!

    27 March 2008 at 12:25 pm

  25. Very cool video – I’ve seen nighthawk, but never a woodcock. I’m going to have to try to track one down… very cool video, too – I passed it along to another naturalist friend of mine (Ashland Nature Center in Delaware).

    BTW, what do you use to make your videos?

    27 March 2008 at 1:32 pm

  26. I’ve never heard about timberdoodles, but now I am going to have to do some googling. What a great introduction. Thanks. Peent!

    27 March 2008 at 6:06 pm

  27. Just the name timberdoodle is silly and brings a smile to my face. Enjoyed the video. I want to see them too. Must do some research for here in Eastern PA.
    Your blog is great…I’ll be back.

    27 March 2008 at 6:13 pm

  28. Hi Tom – Just to let you know…I’m going to start using my blog name on your site. Since there is a Barbara and I am Barb…that is just too confusing for you. So from now on – it’s Bird Girl! 😉

    27 March 2008 at 7:05 pm

  29. Oh man, Tom, that was so COOL! I’ve never experienced that woodcock display. Any habitat tips on where would be the best place for me to try and find them here in SE Minnesota? And they only do this display at night, right?

    27 March 2008 at 8:34 pm

  30. Yahoo! Glorious! Tom!

    What a terrific video. My hubby was sitting beside me going wha . wha . . what’s that :0D

    27 March 2008 at 8:48 pm

  31. @ Marty – Thanks for passing it along and I am using the Sony Vegas Movie Studio
    @ Barbara – Thanks and let me know if I find a way to the top of google!
    @ Jane – Thanks and you should be able to find them easily in Eastern PA~ Thanks
    @ BirdGirl – I have many others with the name Barb and Barbara . . . thanks but I always look at the email link before commenting! Thanks
    @ Ruthie – Thanks and as Grace told me today . . . the liver version is soo much better! You might be on the western border of their range! You might want to check with some local naturalist to see if any are in the area!
    @ Cathy- thanks that my video got his interest!

    27 March 2008 at 10:19 pm

  32. That was the bestest! When I first viewed it, I was at work with no speakers on my computer (mean boss) and the video is really funny w/o sound. I was like, “what are we looking at?” and then I kept seeing peent on the screen! lol!
    I had to see it at home and I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

    27 March 2008 at 10:20 pm

  33. DAMN fine video, Tom! WHOOT.


    27 March 2008 at 11:39 pm

  34. Fantastic video! It always sounds more like “meep” to me (as opposed to “peent”), LOL. Here they start this up in January. I’ve been so excited to see them here on our property the past two years. Haven’t managed a picture though, let alone a video… great job.

    28 March 2008 at 7:17 am

  35. @ Chicago – thanks and that’s funny with seeing this without the sound! Thanks for your kind words!
    @ Susan – Thanks and peent back at you!
    @ Rurality – thanks and I always remember it as peent! Give it time and you should be able to make it happen! Thanks

    29 March 2008 at 11:01 pm

  36. bev

    Terrific movie, Mon@rch! I too loved the way you included the peents and other captions. There are usually a lot of Woodcock here at our farm in eastern Ontario as about 30 of the 60 acres are damp meadows with a bit of brush. It’s around the time we should be hearing the first peents, but I don’t know what will happen this year. We’ve still got a good 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground in most of our fields. Yikes!

    30 March 2008 at 7:56 am

  37. Ohhh, I had forgotten about the woodcock and the peent sound they make, thanks for reminding me to listen for them here! What a great video, Tom!

    30 March 2008 at 10:41 am

  38. Dear Tom,
    Thank you for the video! I have never heard nor seen the Woodcocks! Peterson’s Eastern Field Guide does have them in my area. I need to find some wet lands! Wow!
    Sherry, who is listening for “peent”

    30 March 2008 at 11:30 am

  39. Amazing! You make learning fun, Tom. 🙂

    31 March 2008 at 6:36 pm

  40. @ Bev – hope they arrive in your area soon! Thanks for your kind words, you are very nice!
    @ Pam – thanks and glad you enjoyed this!
    @ Sherry – glad you enjoyed and be sure to get out to find! It is a wonderful experience.
    @ Lisa – thanks and its even more fun in person!

    31 March 2008 at 7:49 pm

  41. Marg

    I loved that video-I got a frantic call on Friday about a Woodcock-from a Flickr friend Bonnie.

    She found him at the base of a building and called me and thank goodness I had the numbers of who to call.

    1 April 2008 at 4:39 am

  42. lvn600

    I’ve heard the expression Timberdoodle but never knew that it was a woodcock.-Thanks for the added comments.-That helped with what is going on.-I’ve never watched the display.

    3 April 2008 at 9:04 pm

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