My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

“Cuckoo” Cuckoo and “tween” Woodcock

Baby Woodcock
Baby American Woodcock

Yesterday before having fun over at Allenburg Bog, I spent the morning opening the CLDC MAPS banding station. Jeremy helped with some weed-eating and also assisted with getting the mist-nets ready for banding. We were both surprised when Jeremy located some young Woodcocks hiding in the grass.  They couldn’t fly yet and had some pin feathers in its flight feathers (flight feathers were still growing). I couldn’t believe how well camouflaged these little birdies were with the surrounding vegetation that they were hiding in.

Woodcock up close
Woodcock up close

I must admit that these were the cutest little worm eating birdies that I have ever seen and you could even see some dried up mud on its bill where they have been probing for worms. I was bummed that I didn’t have my banding equipment with me and it would have been excellent for our project to have banded these fledglings. We will have to see if these guys show up again when we are out banding. I just know how much Young Naturalist J loves being spooked by these guys when you flush a bird from along the trail.

Black-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo before the first release

Then yesterday evening I had a knock on my door from a fellow employee who found this Black-billed Cuckoo on the ground after slamming against their window. They brought it to me in a box and thought it had possibly died or was close to dieing. Nothing physically appeared to be wrong with the bird and perhaps had a severe concussion (or was a little cuckoo). It was starting to get dark and I decided to try and release it from where they first found the bird. The Cuckoo did take flight and flew about 100 feet before dropping into the grass! We knew it didn’t have any broken bones but it appeared that we needed to recapture it for an overnight in a safer/warmer location to work on recovering from its concussion.

Black-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo just after being released

I woke up this morning to find the bird to be a little more responsive and I decided to give another try to its release. This time the bird was ready to take flight and flew perfectly into one of the Sugar Maples. It sat in the same tree for a while and just hopped around from branch to branch. I used this opportunity to capture a few photos of the bird before it disappeared higher up into the tree canopy. I did band the Cuckoo and it would be interesting to see if I ever encounter this bird again.

Black-billed Cuckoo

BTW: CLDC MAPS banding station is set up and ready for banding!


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17 responses

  1. Marg

    Wow so you and Richard both banded a Black Billed Cuckoo yesterday!

    Oh boy have to see when we can come visit 😀
    congrats on getting open

    25 May 2008 at 7:10 pm

  2. The baby woodcock is very cute!

    25 May 2008 at 9:35 pm

  3. Pam

    OMG the baby woodcock is soooo cute!!! Awwww, it’s so fuzzy. Very cool on helping the cuckoo!

    25 May 2008 at 9:54 pm

  4. So, Tom. When do I sign up for bird banding? I’ve been fascinated with what you do for tooooo long!!!! Glorious photos you offer – every post.

    25 May 2008 at 10:02 pm

  5. Lisa at Greenbow

    Those woodcocks were so sweet. Too bad you couldn’t band them. I just love Cuckoos. Great photos of this one.

    25 May 2008 at 10:05 pm

  6. What exciting adventures you’ve been having! The baby woodcock is adorable! I should have been seeing my own – bummer that something got the eggs. And I LOVE that Black-billed Cuckoo! Never saw one – only the Yellow-billed. The red ring around the eye is very cool, indeed. You got some great images there!

    25 May 2008 at 10:09 pm

  7. I showed up on every trail around here that there was a report of Woodcocks. I can’t find any. They hide to good. I even went to Woodcock Dam and nothing, ha. Some day I’m sure I’ll flush one and have a heart attack.

    Great picture of the Woodcock and the Cuckoo!

    25 May 2008 at 10:50 pm

  8. @ Marg – thanks and it appears that we have both banded one! I now have to work on opening the SWAT site!
    @ John – Wasn’t it, thanks!
    @ Pam – it was very fluffy! But not as fluffy as the owls!
    @ Mary – you are more than welcome to help whenever you want!
    @ Lisa – thanks and maybe next time I will get the chance!
    @ Bird Girl – I always have an adventure! Thanks we don’t see many Yellow-bills but do see them!
    @ Linda – they are fun when you get spooked! LOL Thanks

    26 May 2008 at 12:17 am

  9. Both of those birds would definitely be lifers for me. Great photos as always, Monarch.

    26 May 2008 at 1:20 am

  10. Thanks for the baby woodcocks! One of my favorite birds, but I have never seen a baby.
    Saw a fresh, new, red-tailed hawk yesterday though, teetering on a power wire. It was the funniest looking thing with a huge crop of baby down poking out through its head and neck feathers…looked like an egret head on a hawk body.

    26 May 2008 at 5:58 am

  11. Beautiful photos! The baby woodcock is especially endearing =) Very cool that you could help the cuckoo…

    26 May 2008 at 8:29 am

  12. Exciting weekend, Mon@rch! Very cool. Love those baby woodcocks! Too cute!

    26 May 2008 at 9:43 am

  13. @ mary C. Thanks and they were fun to see!
    @ Threecollie- thanks and they are cute little things for sure! I bet it that was a wonderful thing to find!
    @ Rondi – thanks and it was a cute little guy/gal for sure!
    @ Liza – thanks and cute for sure!

    26 May 2008 at 2:23 pm

  14. I have never seen a cuckoo so I appreciate your great photo. I have never seen a baby woodcock but have seen adult ones where we live. I will never forget the first time I saw one–I thought it was a shore bird that had lost its way. But, since I learned that it eats worms I know why I saw one in the cove near our house. But that was years ago so I am not sure if they are still around.

    26 May 2008 at 4:05 pm

  15. Good luck, cuckoo. Good job, Tom!

    26 May 2008 at 8:07 pm

  16. I don’t know when but I am going to make en effort to come by your banding station this year.

    That Cuckoo is a beautiful bird.

    26 May 2008 at 11:19 pm

  17. monica

    wonderful stories. How amazing that you could save the cuckoo!

    27 May 2008 at 1:26 pm

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