Hi all --
I made this response to a request on BRDBRAIN, but it is applicable to N
Hi Janet and all --
I can't help with reliable places, but can help with your luck finding
Many of the breeding reports for Woodcock in the Southeast are late winter,
establishing that courtship and copulation do take place in January.
The timing of daily movement into fields and male courtship flights are
governed by the light level, and on many evenings these begin about 20 minutes
after sunset and last about 25 minutes. Dawn activity begins about 45
minutes before sunup and lasts about 25 minutes. Under a bright full moon males
may display all night long, increasing your chances of detecting courtship
flights many fold.
Full moon is 29 Jan, so this weekend twilight displays will be extended by
a waxing rising moon, if it is not cloudy. Wind is a negative factor, by
low temperatures are not.
Best survey method is to stop and listen a minute or two and then move
about 0.4 mile to a likely spot and listen again. Start about 20 minutes after
sunset. Routes should go through favorable habit: old or abandoned farm
land if available. Display flights occur above fields of at least 3 acres.
Preferred habit includes very dense saplings for day use and a moist field for
feeding and courtship.
Woodcock is a "stake-out" bird. Display/feeding fields are used year after
year. Since some CBCs report them, those are a good place to start looking
for location information.
If any of you out there locate sky-dancing, complete with peenting and
wing-chippering, please let us all know exactly where. The Breeding Bird Atlas
needs this information, and so do others who may like to experience this
County listers take note -- Woodcock probably display in almost every
county south to the Everglades, but not every year. This relatively mild winter
may not have pushed many of them this far south. (When they can't extract
worms from frozen or snow-covered ground, they move south.)
Next weekend, mornings will be better than evenings, because the morning
moon will still be high. Next full moon will be February 25. By the March
full moon, most woodcock will have left the state except the nesting females,
and courtship will almost cease.
I'll be out listening in north Florida under this full moon and the one in
Good luck to all of you.
In a message dated 1/17/2013 7:29:08 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
I just asked my dear husband (whose getting more and more into birding --
yay!) what he wanted to do this weekend. His response: See an American
Personally, I think that's a tall order. My impression is that one has to
get out in appropriate habitat near dusk, then .... get lucky. Or maybe wait
until breeding season and witness a courtship display. In other words,
it's not really a stake-outable bird. At least not this time of year.
But on the off chance that there is a relatively reliable AMWO out there
within -- say -- 2 1/2 hour drive of the Orlando area, could someone let me
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