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American Woodcock in March Snow

Posted on Mar 21, 2015

I was delighted to find this American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) feeding in the exposed leaf litter and mud thanks to the warm, flowing spring and expansive wetlands in my yard today after about six more inches of snow fell yesterday and early this morning. Note the muddy end of this shorebird’s bill showing it had been busy foraging throughout the day in this video…

…and the photos below:

American Woodcock March snow wetlands-0020-2

American Woodcock March snow wetlands-0037

American Woodcock March snow wetlands-0039

American Woodcock March snow wetlands-0041

This well-known spring species dances on the ground while foraging and in the sky while courting every March, though this year the displays may be a little later than usual. The sun is so strong at this point of the year that the warmth of the rays cannot be denied. The thaw is on, no matter the temperature, and birds like this one will be able to feed far easier soon. I also heard my first of spring Eastern Phoebe today while watching this Woodcock, making for two certain signs of spring at once. It is time to brush off your Peterson Field Guides and get ready for the big push.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator