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.
Wednesday night was about the Salamanders with the blue-black body and distinct overlaid rows of yellow spots along its sides, back and tail. Its scientific name is Ambystoma maculatum and since “maculatum” means spotted . . . . . we call these guys the “Spotted Salamander”. But predicting the movement from their wintering holes to their breeding pools can be sometimes is a little tricky.
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!