Spring is right around the corner and a local bird that starts its evening with a memorable mating dance is already hard at work.
The American Woodcock is a member of a shorebird family that spends most of its life in wet woodlands rather than on the shore. The male uses open fields for his mating rituals, starting off with a short “peet” sound reminiscent of a night-time insect or spring peeper. After repeating the peet sound several times the bird flies up into the air (up to 300 feet) then flies downward in a zig-zag motion with his wings whistling. The male will perform this amazing courtship display up to 20 times a night at dusk and dawn.
There are several opportunities to witness the dance of the woodcock this month.
• Meet at the Allens Neck trailhead at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary this Friday, March 8, at 5 p.m. for woodcock viewing led by a Mass Audubon naturalist.
• On Monday, March 11, the Paskamansett Bird Club hosts its annual Woodcock Walk (call trip leader for meeting place and time).
• Woodcock Wanderings hosted by the Trustees of Reservations at Copicut Woods is March 23 at 7 p.m.
• On March 26, meet at Lloyd Center for the Environment at 5 p.m. for a trip to Demarest Lloyd State Park to view woodcock.
Visit each organization’s website for the cost of the program, registration details, and rain date information.