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American Woodcock Display [Video]

Bird Club
The Cattaraugus County Bird Club

Today the Cattaraugus County Bird Club had a field trip to watch the display of the American Woodcock in Allegany State Park. We started a little after dinner searching for spring migrants but the main purpose of the trip was to find the American Woodcock.

American Woodcock
American Woodcock

We headed to my favorite wet meadow area around dusk and then the group waited. . . . ok we chatted some until we heard the birds first peents!! The American Woodcock does its peent calls for about 10 or 15 minutes before taking flight into the sky in a circular direction! The first American Woodcock that we observed doing this display was perfect since the group had a chance to watch the whole process before the sky started getting too dark! When taking flight the birds have a unique flight feather that allows him to create a whistle sound when heading towards the sky! After 2 or 3 circles, the bird will then return to the earth with the most beautiful lullabies that you will ever hear! The males will continue to repeat this process until it’s too dark or until the female chooses him to run away with her for the night! This video below is from last season but will help understand what the group was able to witnessed this evening!

I am so happy the group had a great time this evening and although a few people had a hard time hearing the peents . . . . most everyone was able to witness the birds in some part of its display. Now get out to a wet meadow near you and witness these activities yourself!

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15 responses

  1. Someday I too shall see the display of the American Woodcock… (not an easy thing to do out here in Oregon).

    15 April 2009 at 11:07 pm

  2. Last year after you posted that video, my husband and I went to some interior trails at Presque Isle in the evening to try and find some woodcocks. We thought we heard them and was pretty excited until we got home and listened to the sound again on my video and compared it with recordings of woodcocks. What we heard were spring peepers. We have come a long way since then but I still haven’t seen nor heard a woodcock. Still looking. Still fun.

    16 April 2009 at 12:15 am

  3. That was fabulous, just wish I could see the flight of the bird too… 😦

    16 April 2009 at 12:32 am

  4. Very cool! I’m with John – love to see one, but I’m a wee bit too far west!

    16 April 2009 at 12:55 am

  5. My ex used to hunt woodcock, actually. He brought me along once & after I spoke w/him about it, we ended up raising game birds, instead. Much more satisfying, I must say.

    16 April 2009 at 1:11 am

  6. I love the woodcock’s spring display, but ours seems to be all finished for the year : (

    16 April 2009 at 6:33 am

  7. What a neat display to witness. I had to laugh, as when I was trying to hear your video clip, I had a very loud fee-bee, fee-bee singing outside my window here, and so it went… Peent, Fee-bee, Peent, Fee-bee….

    16 April 2009 at 6:37 am

  8. Lisa at Greenbow

    This video is so cool Mon@rch. I love to hear the Timberdoodles singing their song.

    16 April 2009 at 7:15 am

  9. Patty

    Im glad to hear you had a great night!
    The American Woodcock has a special memory for me Thank You!

    16 April 2009 at 9:03 am

  10. Linda Obrien

    “Special memory” Hm….

    17 April 2009 at 11:59 am

  11. @ John – hope you get the chance . . they are common here!
    @ Linda – get out and check again . . it sure is a good time watching them do the display!
    @ Swati – just get out . . . they are so much fun to watch! My first time I took a girl to McDonalds and then we ate dinner watching!
    @ Adam – sorry . . ! Sounds like a Road Trip!
    @ Lana – sounds very satisfying! Thanks
    @ Threecollie – I bet you get a few more in before May! Must be yours continued migrating!
    @ Jayne – Thanks and so glad they did some calling to you like that! Wish mine would come back!
    @ Lisa – Thanks and glad you enjoyed!
    @ Patty – That was such a fun night . . . . .
    @ Linda – shhh . . . . . . πŸ™‚

    19 April 2009 at 8:25 pm

  12. Grace

    They are also in France Brook at the sharp bend between the two beaver ponds.

    27 April 2009 at 10:17 pm

  13. and now I know what they sound like.


    Eastern Passage, NS

    4 April 2011 at 8:51 am

  14. Thank you for posting the video. I’ve always wondered just what “peent” sounded like! What a thrill that must have been. A friend of mine in Maryland saw a little flock of woodcocks almost completely camouflaged by leaves at the edge of her property on the eastern shore of Maryland. Hoping to see one of these days, somewhere.

    4 April 2011 at 10:30 am

  15. Debbie Butske

    Just went on my first woodcock walk here in Michigan at the local Nature Center and it was amazing! The sweet twinkling sound of their song in flight was not what I thought it would be, especially with their “honky” ground call. The whistling of the wing feathers could be easily heard, and he didn’t mind that we kept moving in closer and were lighting his singing grounds with a flashlight. Life list bird for me. It’s been a great year so far. Enjoy the Spring migration. The Biggest Week In American Birding; May 4th-13th, Oak Harbor, OH @ the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Guided Woodcock Walks every night at 8:15 pm. Hope to see you there!

    22 April 2012 at 9:32 am

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