American Woodcocks in the Spring


I really enjoy the amazing variety of different bird calls and songs. But of all

the birds calls I recognize, the one that brings a smile to my face the quickest is that

of the Amercian Woodcock (Scolopax minor). Peent! Peent!

And the wonder of the Woodcock certainly doesn’t stop there. They have a

bill that defies proportionality. They walk in a wonderful way – look up ‘Dancing

Woodcock’ – I’ll wait; it’s definitely worth it. One of the wonderful birding

traditions of spring, is to try and witness the American Woodcock performing its

mating dance. At dusk, the male takes off from a meadow and flies in spiraling

circles. And while it flies these circles higher and higher, the air rushing past its

wings makes a unique twittering sound.

If you want to see these wonderful creatures, there are a number of birding

groups that host walks to see the mating display. Northern Virginia Bird Club

(NVBC) hosts a walk at 6:30pm on March 6th, 2016 at Huntley Meadows Park (the

Hike/Bike trail). Fairfax county sponsors several more walks at Huntley Meadows

and a walk at 6pm on March 4th, 2016 at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly. At

the Institue Farm in Aldie on March 10th, 2016, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy will

host a Woodcock watch to see the wonderful display.